Marshall Rosenberg taught that human beings share common needs and that everything we say and do is an attempt to meet one of these needs. Gaining familiarity with these needs can support our understanding of ourselves and others. I often suggest that people print one of these lists for the refrigerator, the bathroom mirror, and all around the house!
So often, as children, we are taught to get our feelings under control, or to move past them and “be reasonable.” Nonviolent Communication teaches that our feelings are part of our vital life force and worth paying attention to. When we allow ourself some space to feel our feelings, we often understand much better what it is that we need to thrive. This very long list of feelings can help us develop a “feelings vocabulary” and a much more nuanced awareness of our inner world.
One thing I love about teaching communication is that while the skills are profound, they are not conceptually complicated. Communication involves a) listening, b) speaking, and c) managing my internal reactions so that I can choose how I listen and speak. The work is to build awareness in each of these domains. This simple chart can help remind us what those choices are.