Are You Being A Giraffe Or A Jackal?

Marshall Rosenberg, Phd., the founder and developer of Nonviolent Communication (NVC), used the images of a jackal and a giraffe to describe the 2 basic ways we speak or listen to ourselves or others.

Jackals are known for tricking or fooling their prey, so Marshall used their image to represent the times when we are speaking from a place of moralistic judgements, pain, blame, or “right/wrong” thinking.

At these times when one or more of our basic human needs is not being met, it is common to see “no way out”, and to blame or be critical of ourself or others. We are “fooled,” because we can’t see options for a more satisfying experience. And without another way to interpret our feelings, we won’t have a way out, or the ways out tend to be temporary.

So the jackal image represents the inner or outer critic, blamer, victim voice.

The giraffe has the largest heart of any land animal, so Marshall used the image of a giraffe to represent us when we are speaking from our hearts, specifically speaking from the knowingness of the basic similar humanness of all peoples, and speaking to create a quality of connection with ourself or another that leads to a more fulfilling, satisfying experience for all.

We all have times of being in “our jackal” and “our giraffe”. Each voice signals us to important values or needs that we have, if we know how to listen to them.

NVC (I call it “Communication That Connects”) teaches us how to listen to ourselves and others, in a way that allows us to create great connection and a much more fulfilling experience.

What does someone say or do, or what happens in your life, that ignites your “jackal voice”?

Comment below.

Are you being giraffe or jackal right now?

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