SIX STEPS

OF NONVIOLENCE 

STEP 1

Gather information.

STEP 2

Share the information with all who care about the problem.

When entering into conflict resolution, it is important that we aren’t biased or one-sided. We talk to all parties to hear the stories and concerns of everyone involved. This can happen through personal, direct communication or through surveys or polls. Conflicts are solved when we put away our assumptions and hear other truths.

Once we gather information, we present it to all involved parties. Since misunderstandings and assumptions often lead to conflict, allowing everyone to participate and to hear issues and concerns helps open up honest discussion.

STEP 3

Strengthen your own commitment.

STEP 4

Negotiate with dignity for all.

It is easy to get burnt out during the often long-winded process of conflict resolution. So, it is important to do whatever it is that helps you reinforce your personal commitment to the cause—and help your community stay focused, too. Whether you practice a little bit of self-love or hold a service to unite the community, taking small actions will reinvigorate and refresh your spirit in the fight for nonviolence.

In nonviolence, negotiations are not win-lose situations—they’re win-win. Our goal isn’t to win over an opponent—the goal is to win them over. Not to defeat them, but to help them see unjust conditions. Compromise is sometimes necessary in negotiations, but when it comes to moral truths like equality and injustice, compromise doesn’t always have a place. Ultimately, we negotiate out of love.

STEP 5

If negotiations fail, take appropriate direct action, then negotiate again.

STEP 6

Always reconcile. Celebrate reconciliation!

Direct action can be used either to inform or to move parties back to the table after failed negotiations. It is ultimately used to keep communication between parties open and honest. Nonviolent direct action holds to all six principles and never uses violence.

Reconciliation is the most important step in conflict resolution. Through reconciliation, we create understanding, forgiveness, and unity so that parties can walk through the next conflict not as adversaries but as allies. Then, when reconciliation happens, we celebrate. Because every victory is a step toward nonviolence—and those steps are always cause for celebration.

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