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Identify Your Needs On The Fly

As you begin to integrate the consciousness and skills of Compassionate Communication (NVC), you realize how important it is to be able to identify your needs and how difficult it can be in a given moment.  Of course, as you practice this will become easier and easier. 

In the meantime, I would like to offer you some shortcuts to identifying your needs "on the fly".

1.  Work backward from your strategy.
    That is, identify your request or the way you want something to go and ask yourself the question, "What will that get me?"

2.  Use more familiar language. 
    Sometimes using more familiar words is helpful in accessing yourself.  Instead of asking "what do I need?", try these questions to yourself?
    "What's important to me about this?"
    "What do I really care about here?"
    "What matters most to me about this?"
    "What are my values in this situation?"
    "What am I committed to right now?"

3.  Imagine the perfect scenario.
    See yourself in this perfect scenario or outcome of your current difficulty, and then ask what makes it perfect.  What are the qualities, attitudes, and feelings present?  What needs are being met?

4.  Ask for help.
    Let the other person know that you know there is something deeper that you care about (need) but you can't quite name it.  Ask him or her to help you name it.

This week choose one of these practices to identify your needs as you go through your day.

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Your Partner's Self-Criticism

4 Responses

  1. Dec 05, 2010
    connie ettinger

    my partner and I have been together for eight years. We share a deep love for each other, but we both have allowed old wounds, hurts, resentment to creep in and damage our relationship. I especially have practiced behaviors that have driven my partner to a place of shutting me out. I am sullen, negative, and blaming. I want desperately to turn away from the self I project and dig within to capture and share that more beautiful self I know I am. I am hoping it isn't too late. I am not sure how to undo eight years of sullen, negative patterns of behavior, but find in your gems of the week options, for instance, the idea of replacement behavior. It is one thing to know your behaviors or whacked up but another to know what to do about it. thanks.

  2. Dec 07, 2010

    Dear Connie,

    I wish you well in your healing process. Understanding the impact of words and behavior is the most important step. One of the things that helps partners find patience in the healing process is to reveal to each other exactly how they are working on change day by day.

  3. Nov 29, 2011

    Hello LaShelle,
    The other three shortcuts make perfect sense to me (and are useful suggestions). This first one has me puzzled. Could you give an example?

    1. Work backward from your strategy.
    That is, identify your request or the way you want something to go and ask yourself the question, “What will that get me?”


  4. Dec 04, 2011

    sure, what I mean here is to imagine that the particular situation that isn't meeting your needs suddenly changes and goes exactly as you like. Once you have a clear picture of how that would look, you can ask yourself what need that would meet or use other similar questions like "What is important about this?" "How would my experience be different if it went like this?"

    Does this help?

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