Nonviolent communication (NVC) is very dear to my heart since I discovered it a few years ago. I practice NVC to integrate it in my life as a consciousness. It is possibly the single, biggest strategy that helped improve the quality of my life and connections with other people and with myself. It is my other big passion besides my work with money, financial advice and striving myself to get conscious around money. I practise it because I know I am very conditioned to think like a ‘jackal’.
Marshall Rosenberg, founder of Nonviolent communication , said:
“At an early age, most of us were taught to speak and think “Jackal.”This is language from the head. It is a way of mentally classifying people into varying shades of good and bad, right and wrong. Ultimately, it provokes defensiveness, resistance, and counter-attack. “Giraffe” bids us to speak from the heart, to talk about what is going on for us-without judging others”.
I recently attended an NVC IIT (international intensive training) for 9 days in beautiful Sinaia, Romania. ‘Intensive’ it was! It was also a wonderful immersion experience – learning NVC in community. While I was there, I talked to a group one evening, as an offering (offerings were encouraged after dinner) about financial integrity, NVC and being conscious around money. I had very strong clarity after the talk, realising then that I would like to run workshops as I really enjoyed teaching people about money, exploring deep rooted beliefs around money, loosening some of these beliefs where needed and replacing them with more empowering ones to allow for greater choice and freedom.
That evening, we talked about our money stories-what we heard in our childhoods as messages around money; typically from early conversations we overheard our parents have when we were young – around 5 to 7 years old. Some participants said their parents always had enough and were comfortable, there was never any stress around money. Others said they heard ‘money is evil’, ‘money comes from blood, sweat and tears’, ‘money makes the world go round’ and ‘money doesn’t fall from trees’. It was interesting to see the range of responses- from negative money stories to really positive ones.
We talked about how money is only a strategy to meet other needs – needs like safety, security, freedom, autonomy, independence among others. These are universal human needs that we all share.
We also talked about financial integrity or being conscious about money; what that meant- spending consciously in line with our values, about scarcity beliefs (that there is not enough) around money. Interesting questions were thrown at me such as “what is your money belief?”. ” Sufficient money allows for choice & freedom”, I responded, without much hesitation. I have spend much time thinking about my journey with money, and freeing myself to have choice, especially in the last 3 years.
A couple of days after the mini workshop, a participant shared her thoughts; she had decided to ask her boss for a raise and planned to go travelling; she planned to record all her expenses and make a plan to earn more income whilst cutting back on needless expenses. I felt like a proud mother – it was very rewarding for me to hear her new found clarity and I was excited about helping spark her journey in being more conscious with money.
Often, I find people come to me for an initial consultation (that first free meeting with an IFA) with less clarity than they would like about their future financial goals; I really enjoy asking questions like “What is really important to you?”. Once a conscious connection between values and spending/earning/investing is made, it is very powerful.
Nonviolent communication is about digging deeper – beyond thoughts to what is underneath – feelings and needs. It is about exploring a rich sub-terrain of fears, dreams, values and qualities that we hold dear – then applying it to money, or other strategies we use to meet our needs, so we can help make our lives wonderful.
If you’d like to learn more and live local to London, I’ll be offering workshops on “Financial Integrity and Money” . If you are interested, please click on this meetup link to join and to be informed of future events.
If you are keen to explore more about NVC, please watch Marshall Rosenberg’s workshop on YouTube or buy NonViolent Communication, A Language of Life.
Cleona Lira has been working to help people with their financial goals since 2001. She writes a personal finance focussed blog at www.cleonalira.co.uk . She also runs workshops in London focused on having a conscious relationship with money- creating space to talk about core beliefs around money and connecting one’s own deeper value and sense of financial integrity to spending and investing money.
In addition to her extensive professional experience, her educational background includes a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a Master’s degree in Business Administration. She works as an Independent financial advisor and is a chartered financial planner.
When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her amazing husband, friends, long walks along the river and gardening. She can also talk non stop about non violent communication. Don’t try her on that last one. Follow Cleona on twitter @CLILE