• Iris Berfelo

Bonus NVC Post: The Jackal and the Giraffe

Iris Berfelo is back today with one last, very special post about Non-Violent Communication.


Enjoy!

Let me introduce to you the Jackal and the Giraffe


The jackal and giraffe are two metaphors that Marshall Rosenberg introduced to demonstrate the two styles of communication of how we hear and speak.


Both metaphors are presented in every person.


Jackal Language is about blaming, judging, criticizing, insulting, demanding, comparing, labeling, or punishing. This Jackal language tends to provoke fear, guilt, shame or anger.


This will most likely be responded to with defensiveness, resentment or a counter attack.

The jackal is an animal that moves close to the ground and, limiting its vision and boundaries. Similarly, jackal-thinking individuals believe that in quickly classifying or analyzing people, they understand them. Unhappy about what's going on, a jackal will label the people involved, saying, "He's an idiot" or "She's bad," or "They're culturally deprived."


At an early age, most of us were taught to speak and think like the jackal in a way that classifies people in varying shades of good and bad, right and wrong.


At an early age, most of us were taught to speak and think like the jackal in a way that classifies people in varying shades of good and bad, right and wrong.

The giraffe is the land animal with the biggest heart. The giraffe addresses conflict without accusations, assumptions, and attacks. The giraffe also has the longest neck, allowing him to view from a wider and broader perspective. The giraffe will listen to the feelings of those around him and connect to their underlying needs. The giraffe is fully present in the now.

The jackal reacts based on feelings.


The jackal is not aware of and does not know how to connect with underlying needs. That limits the jackal his his connections with what is going on at a deeper level. The jackal also wants to have needs fulfilled but does not know that he has a choice of strategies that can benefit himself and others.


Giraffe language can be described as language of the heart, with compassion.



Jackal refers to thoughts and behavior in ourselves and others that can be challenging to hear or experience. We all have an ‘inner jackal’ that tells us, “I am such an idiot, I am stupid,” and leave it there without connecting with the unmet needs behind our choices. Our ‘outer jackal’ does the reverse. Blaming and shaming etc. the other.



But we can also see the jackal as a friend. Jackal wants to alarm us. Jackal feelings are warning signs inside of us. Signs of needs that are unmet or need attention. Jackal has difficulty connecting to his / her needs. So instead of denying the jackal, the giraffe recognizes and listens to the jackal’s alarm bells ringing.


So instead of denying the jackal, the giraffe recognizes and listens to the jackal’s alarm bells ringing.

The jackal friend has a lot of information, is alive with poignant clues that will assist in identifying unmet needs and construct a bridge of understanding. And, as we become clear of unmet needs, we will assist ourselves or the other person to develop strategies or solutions that will ultimately be most supportive.

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