What would it be like if you could work with powerful emotions, in yourself and others, find the wonderful sentiment behind all of it, and use that base to create a connection and meaning?

Non-violent Communication (NVC) is a language that helps us to connect with ourselves and others to understand one another, and to explore ways we can willingly and naturally contribute to one another’s well-being.  Also often called Compassionate Communication.

In essence, powerfully working with needs and feelings to create connection and shared understandings . . . Emotional intelligence

Some links to organizations and centers:

“People try nonviolence for a week, and when it does not work, they go back to violence, which hasn’t worked for centuries.”  Theodore Roszak


Compassionate Communication — an introduction

Troubling perspectives

  • Depression, guilt, blame, labeling, obeying, should, demands, comparing, judgment (whose fault?), and shame = alarm clock not meeting needs
  • Any words we use that imply the wrongness of others are tragic and suicidal.  Tragic because it doesn’t lead to people enjoying contributing to our wellbeing, and suicidal because we get defensiveness and counter-aggression.  Diagnoses and judgments are tragic and suicidal. 
  • Anger requires a moralistic judgment to keep it going, a “should.”  There is no connection there.
  • What people do is not the cause of our feelings.  We are responsible for our own feelings.
  • Changes in attitude rarely result from displayed facts, lawyerly arguments, or other attempts to persuade.
  • Time pressure, situational stress, pain, laziness, anger, fear, envy, pride, and greed are all stumbling blocks toward compassionate communication.
  • Agreeing to disagree.  This perspective inherently includes disconnection.
  • False hope of NVC newbies:  “Now I’m going to get my needs met!”

Helpful perspectives

  • Seek to understand before being understood.
  • Connection is of primary importance.  You can’t be making a connection and a point at the same time.
  • We are responsible for advocating for our needs. It isn’t anyone else’s job but our own. Clean communication.
  • Every choice we make is in service of a need.  All behavior is communication
  • Nothing feels better than contributing to another person’s well being.  In the past 48 hours, what have been your brightest moments?  Reflect on a moment when you were really open to giving and receiving.
  • When we don’t “hear” people’s pain, it keeps coming out in ways that make empathy even harder.
  • Right Speech.  It is spoken at the right time. It is spoken in truth. It is spoken affectionately. It is spoken beneficially. It is spoken with a mind of good-will.
  • Power = the capacity to mobilize resources to meet our needs.  Power With = I strive to identify, connect with, and meet my needs as well as others’ needs.  Power Over = I strive to meet my needs whether or not it meets others’ needs.

Universe of Model Application

  • There are only three ways to apply the model of Non-violent Communication.
  • That’s it.  There is no other way.  These are your only options, ever.



For a PDF on Compassionate Communication, and much more, go here