Building Community & Embracing Diversity

The Art of Compassionate Communication

Facilitation Skills: Decision Making & Conflict Resolution

Personal Empowerment & Leadership Skills

Celebrating Life:
Art & Creativity

Local, Bioregional & Global Outreach


2a. The Art of Compassionate Communication
Active and Deep Listening Giving and Receiving Feedback Compassionate Communication

Identifying and Expressing Our Feelings

The second principle of NVC is to learn to develop a vocabulary of feelings that allow us to clearly and specifically name or identify our feelings. Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable by expressing our feelings is a way to connect better with one another, and can help resolve conflicts. It is important to distinguish the expression of actual feelings from words and statements that describe thoughts, assessments, and interpretations.

Using the word ‘feel’ doesn’t mean we are expressing a feeling. In the sentence: ‘I feel that you are wrong’, we are giving an opinion, not expressing any feeling. In general, feelings are not being clearly expressed when the word ‘feel’ is followed by words such as ‘that’, ‘like’, ‘as if’, ‘you’, ‘he’, ‘she’, etc.

A sentence like ‘I feel misunderstood’ doesn’t express any feeling either. The word ‘misunderstood’ indicates rather my assessment of the other person’s level of understanding, not a feeling. In this situation, I may be feeling ‘anxious’ or ‘annoyed’ or some other emotion.

Finally, words like ‘attacked’, ‘abused’, ‘ignored’, ‘cheated’, ‘put down’, ‘unseen’, ‘pressured’, etc. express how we interpret others, rather than how we feel.


Language of Flowers

Learn to express your feelings
Click here for a list of real feelings
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