I’m desperately trying to change the language on the computer. Everything is in Polish and I don’t understand anything! I call Magda for the fifteenth time and ask her to help me translate some commands, so I can perform the most basic tasks. I feel stressed, frustrated and helpless. My needs for harmony, efficiency and, above all, clarity are definitely not fulfilled.

Last week when I travelled home from Poland, I happened to take Magda’s computer instead of mine… So now I’m sitting in Sweden with a computer in Polish and Magda is still in Poland with my Swedish computer. Despite the fact that I managed to change the language here and there, various kinds of information in Polish constantly pop up. Just in time for this week’s need, which is precisely about clarity, it becomes extra clear to me how significant this need is.

Clarity and NVC

The need for clarity lays behind many aspects of NVC. For example, if I want to learn NVC, I need to know the definitions of the four components. Increased clarity is provided by the key distinctions between the four components – observations, feelings, needs and requests – and their opposites – interpretations, thoughts, strategies and demands/undoable requests. This is necessary knowledge if I want to master NVC.

The basis of human existence

I believe that basically everything about my understanding and ability to exist is based on clarity. If I want to be able to live my life in a well-functioning way, I need clarity. When I do my daily activities, most of them are so habitual that I don’t think about this need. I smoothly shift from one activity to another, and clarity is fulfilled without me being aware of it.

My need for clarity usually calls for attention only when it’s not met. Many times it happens when I am exposed to new impressions and activities. It could be that I bought an electronic device that I don’t know how it works. Or when I have to carry out a new activity that I’ve never done before.

Different expressions

I have noticed how the need for clarity expresses itself in different ways within me. As I wrote above, I’m often not aware that clarity is met in my everyday life. I carry out my regular tasks as usual. Depending on whether they are routines or more challenging activities, I can feel a variety of feelings linked to clarity and many other needs such as ease and harmony, efficiency and competence or purpose and challenge. Whether I’m feeling calm or excited, the emotions point toward met needs.

When the need is not met, I also feel a spectrum of different emotions. When I’m involuntarily faced with challenges I do not master, as in the case of the Polish computer, I often become impatient, frustrated and irritated. However, when I choose various kinds of challenges myself, the difference in my emotional state is striking. Now I feel thrilled, curious and enthusiastic.

Misunderstandings and conflicts

I believe that many misunderstandings, disagreements and conflicts are rooted in the lack of clarity. We have expectations of each other that are not met. Many times these expectations are not stated and agreed upon. We say yes to different requests from some people and they are disappointed because we don’t fulfil their wishes. The vagueness is due to different interpretations of what is expected to be performed.

Using NVC has the potential to prevent and resolve many different conflicts. Everything from small misunderstandings between friends to large-scale conflicts that cause a lot of death and suffering. Clear communication and matching our understanding and expectations can help us avoid a lot of suffering.

What are you doing to contribute to more clarity in the world?

Leave a comment below or, if you are a Premium subscriber of “The Needs’ Year”, at the online platform: https://empathiceurope.com/online/courses/the-needs-year/modules/week-32/ 


Joachim Berggren (CNVC Certified Trainer)

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On 23 August at 14:00-14:45 CEST, you can participate in a Zoom Talk with me and Oliver Borgmann. We will talk about the need for clarity.

Sign up for the Needs’ Year and you will receive a link to Zoom.

If you read this afterwards, you can watch the recording when you become a premium subscriber. Check the details HERE.

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