Red Green Repeat Adventures of a Spec Driven Junkie

Nonviolent Communication - Chapter 13 & 14

Liberating Ourselves & Counseling Others & Expressing Appreciation in Nonviolent Communication

It’s been a journey in nonviolent communication. I will be writing up last two chapters separately in this post.

Chapter 13

Liberating Ourselves & Counseling Others

Increasing Awareness

It is hard to realize how violent we are to each other, even to ourselves! After understanding nonviolent communication, I understand we receive limiting messages, yet we don’t notice them.

We do not notice the violent messages that Marshall writes about as there is cultural conditioning to accept talking in a certain way: in the news, from our leaders, in entertainment. Basically, the way we learn to talk to each other is from a total societal conditioning, so even noticing anything wrong is hard, it’s all around us!

Language for Authority

The author explained why there may be a historical reason for lack of needs literacy: the language we use was originally designed by those in authority such as kings or powerful elites societies.

Those in authority consider masses to not to have needs, in order to be more subservient to authority. In essence, language itself flowed down from the rich and powerful to the masses. They developed a language to serve them, not their slaves.

Basic Connotations of the Word need:

  • It is easy to label a needy individual as inadequate or immature.
  • If a person expressing what they need is selfish.
  • We can consider a person using I in their speech often as weird.

Liberate from Conditioning

When we come to this heightened awareness, to break free of this cultural conditioning: apply nonviolent communication!

  • focus on our needs
  • separate observation & evaluation
  • express ourselves with poise
  • use clear positive action language

A good basic sentence structure:

When a, I feel b, because I am needing c. Therefore I now would like d.

For example:

  • When you ask: “Why did you do that?”, I feel hurt, because I am needing allowance to not be perfect. Therefore I now would like a second chance.
  • When you say: “You are always late”, I feel disappointed, because I am needing consideration of my travel situation. Therefore I now would like a broader definition of being on time.

Even now when I practice with this structure, it’s enlightening to break down my own thoughts and get to my real needs, and ultimately the request.

Another way to Understand Depression

This occurs when we disconnect from our needs, our emphatic self. The author showed example of language a depressed person used with themselves was alienating to themselves.

Restructuring your language even in the basic form from above when speaking to yourself will improve. I have noticed over the weeks I am happier with myself. I like having a choice!

When faced with a stressful or challenging situation: focus on ourselves, forgive ourselves, caring for ourselves instead of others.

Chapter 14

Expressing Appreciation in Nonviolent Communication

The author considered praise and compliments that do not have clear action or distinct observations attached are life-alienating communication. Such comments may be positive, but are vague and don’t give the listener a chance to understand what they did to deserve such praise.

Notice that negative feedback is always specific: “You are bad because you didn’t clean your room”

Compliments are essentially positive judgments of others, which implies the speaker holds authority over the listener.

Business Use of Compliments

Managers always say: “compliments and praise works”, because in the short term people will comply. Marshall has reservations as the short term praise will not work in the long term as people will see how empty the praise is and how it is a form of control

Complimenting in Nonviolent Communication

How to avoid giving compliments as a way to control or judge others?

Three components to give compliments in nonviolent communication:

  1. Action that contributed to our well being
  2. Particular needs of ours that fulfilled our need
  3. Pleasurable feelings engendered by the fulfillment of those needs

A basic structure:

This is what you did, this is what I feel, this is the need of mine that was met.

  • When you gave me a second chance, I felt you accepted me for who I am, as it allows me to relax and show you who I really am.
  • When you worked with me to redefine “on time” for us, I felt you listened, as it relieved pressure from me to constantly be on time even when things are beyond my control.

Increasing Awareness of Appreciation

Now that we break down praise and compliments as a tools of authority, how can one accept appreciation gracefully? Some signs to think about:

  • Is it from a person in authority that wants to manipulate us?
  • What did we do to deserve the appreciation? Is there an ulterior motive for the action?
  • Can we live up to the appreciation?

If one can answer those questions in a way that suggests the compliment is genuine, these are some ways to receive appreciation using nonviolent communication.

  • Be genuine. Open our heart with empathy and understand we can improve another person’s life.
  • Be humble. Realize that a higher power has given everyone power to improve everyone’s life and the improvement is through this power, not one’s own.


Whew. The last 13 weeks have been big to me, not just in this journey of nonviolent communication, but in my personal life as well. Reading and writing about nonviolent communication has humbled me because I learned I understand little about myself.

When I first heard about nonviolent communication back in GoRuCo 2016, I never realized how much of an impact it would have in my life. I am now searching for my needs to really understand myself and others, create genuine connections between me and them.

At beginning, I felt I knew about 20% of the material. Now after blogging for three months, I feel I know about 80% of the material. The last 20% will require intentional practice and revisiting the material.

Thanks for being part of my journey in nonviolent communication. At times writing felt terse, but going through the material in depth has given me insight. I know there’s still a lot to learn and integrate into my life and hopefully this has helped you.

If you want to learn more about nonviolent communication, I would be happy to connect twitter or by email: andrew_at_redgreenrepeat_dot_com.