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Awareness of how we're holding our own and others' needs is important to our development. In learning to value needs, we often go through three stages: passive, aggressive/obnoxious, and assertive/mutual. As we learn and grow, we may relate to the following differently: Whose feelings and needs are important, who is responsible for what, how our choices impact others, and consideration for...

One NVC principle is "stimulus vs cause" - one may be the stimulus but never the cause of another's feelings. When we're upset this principle can help us express pain without blame. However, when others are upset it's easy to slip into blaming them using this principle. Instead, we can hear their pain with care and heartfelt mourning - without guilt nor defensiveness, and whether or not we...

When you attempt to make a request what limiting beliefs come up? See if you recognize any from this list. Then compassionately observe your body sensations, impulses, feelings, needs, memories, energy, and images. In making the request ensure your request is connected to your needs, is doable, what you want, and not attached to them saying yes.

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Practice Exercise

2 - 3 minutes

Anger matters because it can let you know that you perceive a threat to universal need for yourself or someone else. It can draw your attention to something so that you can take effective action. Anger becomes a hindrance when you amp it up with your thoughts about what should(n't) happen. Instead, notice any "should" thoughts, see anger as a signal, accept that it's okay to have it, and look...

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Practice Exercise

3-5 minutes

Reflect on a time when you were either expressing gossip or participating passively. What feelings and needs were up for you at the time? How might you have interrupted the gossip with connection? When interrupting gossip it can take a few rounds of empathy and honest expression to bridge understanding, and create a space in which mutual care and curiosity arises. Read on for an example.

For this exercise choose a situation in which you have said a “yes” to someone‛s request but you didn't experience your “yes” as given freely or joyfully. Then explore judgements, feelings, needs, and alternate strategies that come up in relation to your “yes”, your “no”, and in relation to what the other person might be experiencing.

Judging or criticizing others indicates pain, unmet needs and a coping strategy. It distracts you from yourself and can give you the illusion of control. You may think you see more than they do, imagining criticism will bring change. But even a correct analysis won’t inspire change if they hear criticism. Instead, the moment you notice judgments or criticism turn towards yourself with...

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Practice Exercise

1- 3 minutes

With this exercise you'll choose an experience you had with someone where your needs were not met. You'll work with the related feelings, judgements, values, and feeling the fullness of the need even though it was not met, plus any sadness that may arise.

In this inspiring audio, Mary takes to a more profound level the traditional NVC self-empathy process of identifying judgments, feelings and needs, by adding a "wrapping" component.

In our fast-paced, busy lives it is tempting to practice NVC mostly with the left hemisphere of the brain, thinking through the steps quickly without slowing down to connect more deeply with feelings and needs. Don't miss an opportunity to integrate the hemispheres of the brain and the valuable information from the neural networks in the heart and gut.

Trainer Tip: Tap into feelings, needs and requests for greater self connection with the six steps in this worksheet.

As you witness injustices in the world, tension, anger, hopelessness, despair and more, may rise up in you. These feelings may lead to reactive thinking that doesn't contribute to healing nor wise action. Mourning is a universal need. If your culture pushed away grief and its emotional expression, you may have habits that block your access to the aliveness of grief. Read on for ways to give...

Trainer tip: It's often easy for us to hear rejection when someone says “no” to us. If we focus on the rejection, we may feel hurt and fail to take the time to understand what is going on with them. However, if we focus on their feelings and needs, we're more likely to uncover what they want and what prevents them. To increase success in resolving conflicts and find solutions that work for...

When we're judging we're less able to access both what we care about and constructive next actions. Instead, create more internal space and agency starting with connecting to your feelings and needs; then feel your grief or disappointment; followed by getting curious about the other party's needs and context -- and then based on collective needs and the long term effects make requests or take...

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Trainer Tip

1 - 2 minutes

Trainer Tip: When we sympathize, we relate an aspect of someone’s story to ourselves. When we empathize, we reflect the feelings and needs of the other. Empathy helps people connect more deeply to their own and another’s pain, and helps resolve issues with clarity and ease. Notice when you're giving someone sympathy rather than empathy.

When someone responds with painful sarcasm, criticism, or dismissal you can respond with empathy, or with clarity about your intention, need and request. If you're unable to do this, later you can privately write what they said, identify the feelings and needs of both of you, then write possible responses. This can help you remember to stay with your intention and what’s true for you without...

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Trainer Tip

1 - 2 minutes

Trainer Tip: In Nonviolent Communication, we see expressing honesty as a gift of our authenticity, and a chance for others to support us in getting our needs met -- this can flourish and deepen our relationships. We can notice and act on opportunities to be honest with the components of OFNR (Observations, Feelings, Needs, and Requests).

Where do you feel desperation, resentment, anger about your partner's choices? What do you want to demand of them? Rather than looking for what they're suppose to do, look for your feelings and needs, how would you would respond if you trusted your needs could be met without your partner, and what you choose to do given what your partner offers and does not offer.

However indirectly expressed, any judgement or criticism is about the person's own thoughts, feelings, needs, and requests.This awareness can help you take people's comments less personally, and give you options: silent self-empathy, standing in your truth, contact and curiosity, and honest expression.

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Practice Exercise

1-2 minutes

Use this interactive empathy exercise to track the relationship and shifting of body sensations, feelings and needs as you note them out loud.