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"Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing, there is a field, I will meet you there" (Rumi)

The 4 skills listed above are the essential components of Nonviolent Communication – a set of principles and practices created by Marshall Rosenberg during the 1960’s when he mediated between conflicting parties during the civil rights movement. 

These skills emphasize personal responsibility for our actions and the choices we can make to respond rather than react to others. This in turn supports relationships grounded in cooperation and collaboration. Basic assumptions: Feelings and needs are universal in nature; all human beings have them Difficulties arise when we confuse the 4 components, and stop seeing the other person (or ourselves) with compassion and clarity Just as leaves reach for the sun, everything that people do is  reaching to meet universal, life-serving needs. No matter what a person is expressing, it is their attempt to enrich their life. 

All attacks, criticism, blaming are an individual’s tragic expression of their attempt to meet life-serving needs. What others do stimulates, but does not cause, our feelings. The source of our feelings is our internal experience related to our needs. For example: When our needs are met/fulfilled we may feel: glad, peaceful, tender, rested, grateful, calm 

When our needs are not met we may feel: sad, afraid, angry, confused, tired, uneasy Our own natural compassion is energized, and our natural desire to contribute to another’s well being becomes strengthened: 

  • When our own needs are seen empathically – by ourselves and others When we feel heard – by ourselves and others
  • When we are able to hear/recognize the other’s needs empathically 


The inability to connect with ourselves or another’s needs is usually prevented by one of four things:

  • Lack of resources of time or energy
  • Lack of self-awareness of one’s own feelings/needs
  • Attachment to outcome
  • A reactive or defensive mode.→