Consciously Communicating Without Violence

Updated: Apr 4



I've met many people who describe themselves as non-violent and warm-spirited, and by and large, that is how they show up in the world. But not always. Stressful situations find them flying off the handle in a fit of rage in seconds flat – rage they feel is justified: the driver who cut them off or is driving too slow is a jerk, the politician whose views are opposite of theirs is an idiot, the teenager who didn’t turn off her cell phone at the movies is clueless. It's quite possible you've found yourself wearing these raging shoes once or more yourself; after all, many people are experiencing anxiety of one flavor or another in their high-pressured lives and feel a sense of powerlessness on occasion. Social media has enabled contagious uncivil behavior to spread like a malignant cancer. Attacking others who push their buttons (generally from a distance) is a quick form of release; however, the the rest of time they are more civil and kind toward everyone else they encounter – so of course they wouldn't even consider themselves anything other than peace-loving.


Yet even the most pacifist people will respond with defensiveness, resistance, and counterattack when they or their loved ones are being threatened - it's part of our sympathetic nervous system's natural response. Although in some cases it can be understood in the short term, there are other methods of non-violent communication that can be more productive in the long run. Indulging in back-and-forth mudslinging never solves problems.

Overt violent communication towards another is hard to deny, but passive-aggressive communication is more insidious. I've observed the dark craft of manipulation and control of others via subtle guilt-tripping and/or fear-inducing verbiage by lots of folks – including people who are convinced they are all "love and light" - while at the same time are knifing others in the back with a smile. The broad outer perception they create for most people to see is they are incapable of harming a fly, yet in fact they are jealous, insecure, selfish and cutthroat competitive.


Another form of subtly communicating with destructive energy is when people express superiority over another in terms of their political beliefs, socio-economic status, race, gender, education, religion…even coming off as "more mindful" or "more spiritual" than others communicates elitism and separation – neither of which fosters respectful co-existence. Energy, both beneficial and harmful, is contagious. When we absorb what is being espoused by sensationalistic hate-mongering talk show hosts, propagandists and politicians (and they exist on both sides of every issue) without questioning them, we are more prone to their negative energy being passed on by us in our communications with others. And if we become numb to violent images on TV, in movies, music and video games, they actually become more acceptable to us. Any parent that allows their kids to listen to "gangsta" hip hop music that denigrates women and promotes violence (and a lot of it does) and are in denial about the impact of such vitriol may be dealing with similar behavior and hate speech being emulated by their own.



Then there's the violence people commit against themselves but don't even recognize it as such; ruthless self-flagellation when they make mistakes, fall short of a goal, disappoint people, etc. - inflicting themselves with inner-voice chastisement, punishment…and even self-hatred. Their loving exterior is merely a mask for their ongoing internal brutality.


Lastly, there's the really covert behavior of not treating yourself in a loving manner via consuming a low vibe, poor quality diet, ingesting known toxic substances but acting in denial about their effect, drinking too much alcohol, being a workaholic, not exercising your body or your mind and brain regularly, depriving yourself of adequate sleep, not taking time to meditate, etc. Another form of not treating yourself with respect is allowing others to be abusive and draining to you physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually, and not saying "no" when it is appropriate – and necessary. Not expressing our feelings to someone who has upset us because we need their approval, love, money, etc. and instead choose to avoid conflicts and to "stuff it" leads to all sorts of problems – and it certainly doesn't need to be excused by thinking we are being "unconditionally loving" if in fact deep down we are seething and resenting that person.


We all lead by the example we extend in whatever field of influence we have in any given situation or interaction, and are at choice as to what and we communicate to others, including how they "should" treat us and how we "should" treat ourselves. If we don't communicate self-respect – and transparently walk our talk – we are endorsing violence against ourselves, by our own hand as well as by others.


If you recognize yourself in any of these six descriptions of violent forms of communication, take a deep breath.


If others in your life instantly come to mind, take another deep breath.


Recognition is the first step to liberation, with taking full ownership of our impact squarely in the middle of the two.

Self-Reflective Practices:


Here are some Self-Awareness Skills you can practice to intentionally re-mind yourself toward creating new neural pathways of choice in the moment with a centered response to any situation that may have normally triggered you into reacting in a definitely non-peaceful manner. (to self and others):


≈ Gently focus all of your attention upon those situations wherein you were (and perhaps still are) most prone to quickly react with angry verbal responses. See both yourself and the other person(s) who triggered your upset and allow yourself to see the possibility these events did not take place or were created to purposefully ruin your day. Allow yourself the possibility from this moment forward to consider bringing in a bit more empathy and compassion toward what may appear to be unconscious, selfish choices by others that caused you to respond with anger and frustration, and express those feelings with violent language. Allow yourself the possibility that they may have been totally unaware of what they did, and perhaps are not as sensitive and mindful regarding others like you may be – and then recall the times when you did something that came off as unaware, unconscious, insensitive or downright ignorant to the upsetting effect it had on others. Allow yourself to feel self-compassion for the times you have erupted with explosive anger, knowing that you are an imperfect human being dealing with your own stresses in life, just as is the person whose actions set you off. Allow yourself to release and forgive yourself for the times when you thought, chose, acted and behaved in the past without patience and understanding of that fact. Allow yourself to be constantly re-minded to choose to do your best to consciously come from a place of understanding, compassion and empathy regarding the apparent unconscious actions of others - from this moment forward.

≈ Gently focus all of your attention upon those situations wherein you were (and perhaps still are) triggered to engage in violent verbal sparring with someone who has upset you. Allow yourself to see that continuing in the downward spiral of mudslinging, even if you feel justified in doing so, will never lead to a civil level of interaction or resolution between you and the other party. Allow yourself to see the times when you have been defensive, resistant and counterattack-driven, and how it made you feel on all levels. Understand that some people get off on petty drama, bullying, low blows and all manner of abusive, violent behavior, and that bringing yourself down to their level is playing right into their hands. Also understand that most people who appear to thrive upon verbal sparring with others may be experiencing long-held anger, resentment, pain and frustration (that may have nothing to do with you) that they are holding inside that erupts in an inappropriate and destructive manner. Consider the possibility of being able to feel some degree of compassion for how unhappy, angry, hurt, resentful, frustrated this person may be and the fact they live with inner pain regularly and maybe don't have the ability to be civil with others. Allow yourself to see there are times that the best, most courageous thing to do is to walk away with your head held high, and to seek other means of dealing with an individual whose verbally violent behavior prompts similar verbally violent reactions from you. Allow yourself to release and forgive yourself for the times when you thought, chose, acted and behaved in the past without patience and understanding of that fact. Allow yourself to be constantly re-minded to choose to do your best to consciously come from a place of taking the high road when dealing with an angry, irrational person - from this moment forward.

≈ Gently focus all of your attention upon those situations wherein you were (and perhaps still are) triggered to engage in passive-aggressive verbiage with another person. Allow yourself to see the times when you have subtly manipulated others with guilt-tripping, shaming, blaming or fear tactics in your verbal communications with them, and how such covert behavior is violent in its intention to hurt. Consider the possibility that this indirect abusive behavior will tear apart the foundation of any relationship where it is allowed to take place, and you are at choice to stop it. Allow yourself to take an honest hard look as to whether you are experiencing jealousy, envy, insecurity, resentment, competitiveness or other volatile emotions that are prompting you to desire to punish or betray the recipient of your passive-aggressive communications. If you are on the receiving end of such communication, allow yourself to see the possibility that you can either continue to accept it or put it to a halt (even if it means ending the relationship), and to take an honest hard look as to why you may have tolerated such abuse up until now. Regardless of which side of passive-aggressive communication you may been on, allow yourself to release and forgive yourself for the times when you thought, chose, acted and behaved in this manner. Allow yourself to be constantly re-minded to choose to do your best to consciously come from a place of never harming – or being harmed by – passive-aggressive verbiage - from this moment forward.

≈ Gently focus all of your attention upon those situations wherein you were (and perhaps still are) triggered to engage in verbal communications that expresses superiority over another in terms of your political beliefs, socio-economic status, race, gender, education, religion…even coming off as "more conscious" than others – all of which communicates elitism and separation – and none of which fosters respectful co-existence. Allow yourself to consider the possibility that you may have been negatively influenced by the overtly violent, divisive communications of others – or by those that are more covertly subtle and insidious. Passion is not the same as violence, but there can be a fine line between the two that is easily crossed. Understand that energy of all types is contagious and both hostile and respectful communications toward others is something you are at choice in extending. If you disagree with the views of others, you have the right to question them – but if you respond with violence in any form in your expression, know that all that is happening is that violence is being perpetuated. Take a moment to look at all the forms of communication by others you allow into your brain, and how much of it contains violence that you may have become numb to. Allow yourself to release and forgive yourself for the times when you thought, chose, acted and behaved in the past that communicated violence in the form of superiority based upon your political beliefs, socio-economic status, race, gender, education, religion, etc. Allow yourself to be constantly re-minded to choose to do your best to mindfully come from a place of non-violent acceptance of the right for others to believe what that do, even if you passionately disagree with them, and to become more consciously aware of the impact violent images, TV shows, movies, video games and communications of all sorts have upon you and those you care about - from this moment forward.

≈ Gently focus all of your attention upon those situations wherein you were (and perhaps still are) triggered to engage in verbally beating yourself up for any reason. Allow yourself to acknowledge that such behavior is committing violence against yourself. Consider the possibility that ruthless self-flagellation when you make mistakes, fall short of a goal, disappoint people, etc. is extremely unlikely to promote positive future outcomes. Understand that by our very nature, all human beings are far from perfect, and no one does everything right or without fault or with complete success all of the time. All we can do is to consciously choose to do our best and bring our 100% best to every situation we find ourselves in, and know that even with our best intentions and efforts, things don't always work out in the way we hoped and planned for them to do. Allow yourself to release and forgive yourself for the times when you thought, chose, acted and behaved in the past without patience and understanding of that fact. Allow yourself to be constantly re-minded to choose to do your best to consciously come from accepting the fact you are human and by definition imperfect – just like everyone else you share the planet with. Know that punishing yourself for mistakes you've made, goals you didn't reach and the fact you may have disappointed people you care about in the past are not a determination of the future – unless you make it a self-filling prophecy – so choose instead to give yourself a break for what happened in the past and allow yourself to be constantly re-minded to choose to do your best to consciously come from a place of non-violence toward yourself – from this moment forward.

≈ Gently focus all of your attention upon those situations wherein you were (and perhaps still are) triggered to engage in thoughts, choices, behaviors and actions that reflect not treating yourself in a loving, respectful manner on all levels: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Quickly review your lifestyle: do you consume a low vibe, poor quality diet, ingest known toxic substances but act in denial about their effect, drink too much alcohol, over-work, not exercise your body or your mind and brain regularly, deprive yourself of adequate sleep, not take time to meditate, etc. Do you allow others to be abusive and draining to you physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually, and not say "no" when it is appropriate – and necessary? Do you not express your feelings to someone who has upset you because you need their approval, love, money, etc. and instead choose to avoid conflicts and to "stuff it" – while you are seething and feeling resentful below the surface? Understand we all lead by the example we extend in any given situation or interaction, and are at choice as to what we communicate to others, including what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in terms of how they treat us and how we treat ourselves. If we don't communicate self-respect – and transparently walk our talk – we are endorsing violence against ourselves, by our own hand as well as by others. Allow yourself to release and forgive yourself for the times when you thought, chose, acted and behaved in a manner that communicated your lack of self-respect and self-care to others. Allow yourself to be constantly re-minded to choose to do your best to consciously embrace a sense of non-violence toward your own well-being on all levels, and to lead and communicate by positive, transparent example - from this moment forward.

© 2020, Suzanne Matthiessen, innerevolution media. All rights reserved.

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Original Site Content ® 2001 - 2020, Suzanne Matthiessen/innerevolution media. All Rights reserved.

Please read the "Legal Stuff" and "Sharing Site Content" pages for your protection.