Section 9, Topic 7
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The Needs at the Root of Feelings

Ravi Resck 3 de December de 2022
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In general, when we express a judgment, a criticism or a “diagnosis” or interpret others as we please, we are expressing some need that is or is not being met.

If I say that "you never understand me", I am expressing that my need to be understood is not being satisfied.

Judgments of others are alienated expressions of our own unmet needs.

When we express our needs clearly, we are more likely to see them satisfied.

Marshall Rosenberg

Unfortunately, we were not taught to think of our conflicts in terms of needs. Most people's natural reaction is to place the blame on other people.
CNV proposes that the more evident our needs are, the easier it will be for other people to empathize with us and want to satisfy them and vice versa. When people start talking about what they need instead of what is wrong, the chance of reaching an agreement is much greater.

To facilitate this process, we also need to develop our vocabulary of needs. For this purpose, here is a list of universal human needs:


  • Choosing your own dreams, goals and values
  • Choose your own plan to realize those dreams, goals and values


  • acceptance
  • love
  • support
  • appreciation
  • human heat
  • understanding
  • communion
  • confidence
  • consideration
  • contribution to the enrichment of life (exercising the power of each one, donating what contributes to life)
  • empathy
  • encouragement
  • honesty (the honesty that strengthens us, enabling us to learn from our limitations)
  • proximity
  • respect
  • safety
  • emotional


  • Celebrate the creation of life and dreams come true
  • Elaborate losses: loved ones, dreams etc. (mourning)


  • Fun
  • Laughter
  • Play

Physical Needs

  • Shelter
  • Water
  • Food
  • Air
  • rest
  • sexual expression
  • movement, exercise
  • Touch


  • Authenticity
  • Self-Improvement
  • Creativity
  • Meaning

Spiritual Communion

  • Beauty
  • Harmony
  • inspiration
  • Order
  • Peace

Exercise: Recognizing Needs

Identify the statements in which the person is taking responsibility for his feelings.

1. You piss me off when you leave company documents on the floor of the conference room.
2. I get angry when you say that, because I want respect and I hear your words as an insult.
3. I feel frustrated when you are late.
4. I'm sorry you didn't come to dinner, because I was hoping we could spend the night together.
5. I am disappointed because you said you would do that and you didn't.
6. I am unmotivated because I would like to have made more progress in my work. 7. The little things people say sometimes hurt me.
8. I am happy that you received that award.
9. I get scared when you raise your voice.
10. I am grateful that you offered me a ride, because I needed to get home before the kids.


1. The person makes it appear that the other person's behavior is solely responsible for his feelings.

2. The person has taken responsibility for his feelings.

3. The person did not take responsibility because he did not say why he is frustrated.

4. The person has taken responsibility for his feelings.

5. The person could have said that he is disappointed because he would like to be able to trust the other's word, for example.

6. The person has taken responsibility for his feelings.

7. The person could have said that he is hurt because he would like to be valued and not criticized for example.

8. The person could have said he was happy because he expected him to be recognized for all the time he put into the project.

9. The person could have specified that they are afraid because they need to feel safe, for example.
10. The person has taken responsibility for his feelings.