top of page
  • wplogin

Ep. 6 - Time To Come Alive: How To Get Your Needs Met With Terry Doherty, Nonviolent Communication Facilitator

Listen to the podcast here

Time To Come Alive: How to Get Your Needs Met with Terry Doherty, Nonviolent Communication Facilitator

I'm excited because I had the opportunity to bring on a very dear and special friend to join me on the call. It's the first time I'm doing this. Those of you who heard the previous session might know that partnership was the topic for our session. I mentioned how throughout my life, I've been that independent, go-getter, assertive, and lone wolf. I've gotten a lot of praise, opportunity, and confidence because of that. At the same time, over the last few years, I've started to appreciate and build the muscle for partnering with other people who have complementary skills, perspectives, and opportunities for us to engage in.

That has enriched my life. I've always had friends, but using that opportunity to partner with somebody has been a muscle that I've had to develop over time. I'm getting better and better at it every day. I have to say that I've busted through a whole different obstacle or mental obstacle by engaging someone in this particular call in our show. Our special guest is Terry Doherty. Terry is a phenomenal human being. I had the benefit of learning so much from her and her co-teacher, Connie Cox. Terry, how long has it been now?

Five years.

Five years ago when they came to my church to do a course on nonviolent communication. Since that course, I've had so many wonderful insights and breakthroughs by learning what they taught. We celebrated here in the US Martin Luther King's birthday. The premise in which he did his work was nonviolent. I thought this would be a great topic to bring on.

The cool thing about this is that nonviolent communication has a whole different connotation when we're talking about it from Terry's perspective, and we'll get into the nitty gritty in a moment because it shifted my view from violence being aggression and forced especially when it relates to when we're talking about politics or we're talking about challenges in our society. What I learned about violence that was so eye-opening was the everyday violence that we engage in with our emotions and our needs.

We're going to help you all figure out some ways that you can explore even further yourself. This show is all about personal leadership and being able to take tools and resources that then you can apply to your life. I'm so thrilled that Terry is here to do with us the mindful exercise that we're going to be taking part in first. We're going to do mindfulness first. We'll then have an opportunity to hear more about Terry and what she's up to and I'll introduce her properly. We'll then open up the lines as you all are accustomed to sharing your comments, questions, and any particular issues that you'd like to bring up. Terry and I will address them head-on. Let's get started.

First thing, being mindful is probably the best way to engage in this call. You like to call it in the nonviolent communication lingo as centering. It's self-centering. The way I'd like to do that is wherever you are, whether you are in your car in your office, or your home, find a comfortable place to be. Sit down if you can. If you have the opportunity to sit, please do so. That'll help you center even further. I want you to pay attention to where your feet are sitting flat on the ground, so no cross legs. Make sure that you feel completely supported by the ground. As you do that, take a deep breath in. Take another deep breath. We can never use enough oxygen. Another deep breath in.

In today's mindful moment, we're going to focus on how to connect with our feelings and our needs. This is going to be the basis for the conversation. I want you to do is to let your body relax in whatever position you're in. Now be safe if you are driving or if you're someplace where you cannot close your eyes, don't do so but if you can, lower your gaze or close your eyes, whatever's most comfortable so that you can allow the rest of your body to relax. Continue to breathe deeply. You're going to mindfully relax your eyes, eyelids, jaw, your shoulders. Allow that relaxation to flow through your arms, all the way to your hands.

Whatever adjustment you need to make to allow your body to become fully relaxed, please do. Continue to find your breath. Sensing your breath as it goes in your body and also comes out. Now, also ground yourself by having no judgment about what's happening in the world around you. Whether you're alone in the room and you hear a clock ticking, or if you're surrounded by other people and there's chatter, find ways to disengage any judgment from what you're hearing around you.

Now, I want you to ask yourself, what are you feeling right now? Consider the emotion that you're experiencing. Are you feeling peaceful and playful? Are you feeling mad, nervous, tired, loving, and grateful? Think through any word that comes to mind to identify the emotion that you're experiencing. With no judgment, observe the notion. Continue to breathe. Our feelings are bits of information that we receive from the inside.

I want you to go down even further. Go further inward and think, “What am I needing right now?” Do you need a connection, adventure, support, rest, perhaps belonging, or community? Go inward and uncover what might you need in this moment. Again, no judgment. Accept what you're feeling and what you need this very moment wholly. Take another couple of deep breaths. I'm going to invite you to return your attention to the room around you, the screen, and the phone line to join us once more.

I have that distinct pleasure, as I mentioned earlier, to introduce my dear friend Terry. Terry is a retired fitness trainer, but you wouldn't know it. With the level of energy that she brings into a room, she lights it up and sparks it into action. That's one of the things that I most admire about her. Not only the smile, but her body language conveys the energy and the passion that she brings to everything she does. As I mentioned before, I met Terry about five years ago when she and her partner, Connie Cox, both came in to do a workshop on nonviolent communication.

Terry was introduced to nonviolent communication by a mentor, Jay Johnson, who's on this call too. I'm so glad I'm surrounded by nonviolent communication experts today. What's interesting is we'll talk a little bit more about nonviolent communication. The premise is not about aggression, and not about fighting. It's about how we sometimes lose connection to ourselves and that creates violence. That creates violence.

We'll go into it a little bit more but I also find admirable the way that Terry contributes her knowledge and her expertise beyond doing the courses that she's done with me and others on a weekly basis. She and Connie also go to the Tarrant County Jail in Fort Worth, Texas, and conduct sessions and support groups of women inmates using the techniques that we're going to be talking about. Terry, welcome.

Thank you. It’s nice to be with you.

It’s nice to be with you too. When we talked about feeling a need for self-connection, what came up for you?

I felt relief. Do you want to know why? When I wake up at 7:00, normally, I can go, “This is fabulous,” and then roll over and do anything, read or go back to sleep. This morning when I woke up at 7:00, with an alarm that I don't normally ever have to use. I felt that irritation and I asked myself, “What do you feel?” I thought, “You can't be serious,” because I had to get my body up. It had come from complete sleep. I thought, “That was interesting. Let's go to the bathroom.”

We started in and in the shower, I thought, “This is a bit interesting too.” By that time, I was feeling very heavy. My body felt heavy as the water was coming down and thinking but feeling. The feelings shifted. It was nice to know that I was going to be on this call, doing something earlier in the day than I normally do.

This seemed like a good idea to do it one time, but at that moment, I thought it'd probably be good to go with the feeling. As soon as I started moving then I noticed that heavy is gone in my body. That's not even gone at all. It could be years ago before I knew anything about how to connect with that part of my body that has these things we call feelings, I could have acted on it from the very get-go like, “Why do I do this? I'll never do this again. I'm not going to do anything till noon.”

That's not who I want to be. That's not the first way I want to greet the day. It could be my last day. I don't want to start it like that. The question you asked me was, “What were you feeling when we did the exercise?” It was mostly relief and calm because I had been unusually aware for the last hour and a half preparing for the call, getting out of bed, and getting ready.

It got to be a funny and fun experience instead of not pleasant one. I want to play the game that Marshall talked about. Marshall Rosenberg is the writer of the book and the developer of nonviolent communication. He used to say, “What game do you want to play?” The game he wanted to play was, “How can I make your life more wonderful? How can I make my own life more wonderful? Instead of, who's right? I'm right. I'm never going to do this again before noon.”

It's not the game I want to play anymore. The game I want to play is to be vulnerable enough to tell you I was a bit irritated. That vulnerability connects me because I'm guessing that irritation is an example of a need that everybody has when I'm vulnerable enough to say I felt or I feel irritated. There's a connection there of something no matter what that you understand. No matter where you're from in the world, no matter who you are or who I am. That's what we seek to connect with people even if our strategies and how to do life are completely different.

That's one thing when we talked a few days ago, you mentioned strategies and I'd forgotten about the course. Can you tell the group here, what is it about strategies? That initial response that you have to that feeling or that need that you uncover and that you apply some technique or strategy to. How is it that it related to nonviolent communication?

Marshall said that we all do what we do. We think what we think. We do everything to meet a need. We do what we do to meet a need. We may not know it, but that was worth thinking about for me when I first heard it. That could make things a lot different. Somebody that I'm looking at, driving right in front of me if he's doing that or she's doing that and there's a need that they're trying to meet, it makes it a whole lot different than some idiot crossing across me doing something stupid. That's for me in the place where I am violent with that person I don't even know they're in a different car that I’m in.

Both of us are on the road going somewhere, and this guy crossing across my car has a strategy for how to get to where he's going. I have a strategy for how to get to where I'm going. Obviously, because of my response of what kind of an idiot does that, and maybe he is on his way to the hospital, and he's thinking, “Get out of my way.” To me, maybe that's what he's thinking. I have no idea. The two strategies may not be working at all because our cars are not even in alignment, let alone ourselves. When we can back off and realize there may be a need that someone is trying to meet by what they're doing.

Maybe they're not going about it in a way that I enjoy or vice versa, but the need that we have underneath is going to be in common. That person with the car may be meeting a need to travel to another space. I may need to travel to space. We need to move. Everybody understands that. I need to be somewhere, to go somewhere. If we only talk about our strategy, chances are we're not going to be able to connect.

I experienced this with you in that first phone call we had. As I said, I'm building that muscle for partnership. Full disclosure, when Terry and I were starting to go through the process of thinking about putting this call together and what we're going to talk about, I was feeling nervous. I was feeling like I needed control. I needed certainty that this was going to go well, that this was a good decision to make. First, I didn't even think about the need.

I didn't think about the feeling but I went into the call with you, Terry, saying, “Here's what the agenda is going to be. This is what I usually do on the call. This is why I do the call.” I'm thinking in the back of my head if I tell her all of this stuff and to make it sound important, we can't mess this up. Terry, in your wonderful way, lightening things up, you lighten it up. You have such great listening, such powerful listening that you were able to take what I said in your own words and show me that you got it.

That was the moment where I said, I could trust her. I can trust this. I then was able to share it with you, I said, “I'm nervous. I want this to go well.” I need certainty. I need professionalism. I need all of these things I shared. You were so gracious in giving me that space. You said something profound that is helpful when we communicate with other people being present to our feelings and needs gives people the permission or the space to become aware of their feelings and needs. Talk about how you create that safety. You did it so well with me. I instantly felt like I needed to own up to what was happening to me so that we could get through this issue. How do you do that?

That was a good example and a better one. I'd like to use your example because when you were asking questions. I could tell that you wanted structure. When I asked you who you were, then I could tell that was your strategy to meet your needs for professionalism and effectiveness. When I asked you what needs are underneath the strategy you have to have structure. You said those things, professionalism, etc. Then you shifted completely because why did you shift completely? Once we started talking about that's just a strategy. My need is to just be professional. You said, “I want people who come onto the call to be able to use this, whatever this is, right away.”

I want it to be valid. You didn't say valid. You said, “I want it to be relevant and helpful.” I ask you, “Is it important to you to contribute to these people who call in?” Your face and the whole body language show. We began then talking about the things we have in common. We were born into this world within our brains, and this need to contribute is big. We share that value.

Other people may have different needs that are of higher value or lower value than this one to contribute, but everybody understands how it feels to contribute to a little needy animal or to contribute to a woman in jail or a neighbor. That safety you were looking for, you seemed to start to feel it once we started talking about what you wanted to do. The strategy of wanting to be structured didn't seem to me like it was that important to you. It was important but not as important to where you had a little vibrating nervousness about it. Is that close?

It is. What I want to call out here is that's how so many of us go about life. There are things that we want from others. There are things that we have expectations. We have needs that are unfulfilled or that we like to have met and yet we don't communicate the need. We begin to apply a strategy that we think would work. In my case, my strategy was I give somebody the structure I wanted and that I would feel good because I'm asserting this is what I need. Rather than saying, “I need certainty, I need commitment, or I need trust,” I would say, “I need an agenda. I need your three bullet points and your bio.”

It doesn't give us an opportunity to connect to create a strategy together. This is a piece I think is so powerful for the rest of the audience to think about how we communicate what we need to people, and how much opportunity the person then has to respond and meet that need in a way that's also fulfilling for them. Terry, chime in if I'm off here, but what makes such a difference in thinking about nonviolent communication? You already referenced a book by Marshall Rosenberg.

It’s the reason that violence between people happens. I'm not talking about some physical aggression. I’m talking about how we fight each other's strategy. We don't sell them fight over each other's needs. I'll give you a very small example. Over the weekend, I've still been so present to all this. When my boyfriend was hungry, his strategy was to try to hurry me up so that we could go eat. My need was for connection, relaxation, and calm. I felt so pressured that I almost said, “If you wanted to go in such a hurry, then go.”

I had enough presence. That's why self-connection is so important. That being so mindful is so key. I had enough presence of mind for a split second, although I felt the irritation, I felt that rush, that lack of understanding. I could take a pause and say, “His need is he's hungry. He needs to eat now.” My need is connection. The two are not mutually exclusive. Let's see how we can work this out. By expressing that, we were able to slow things down enough so that we could both have our needs met without having to use violence or arguing over a strategy.

Were you able to talk to him about it right then in real time?


That is the master's level.

I had a moment of I needed to be with the feeling. I'm not always used to exploring feelings and needs that profoundly. Being able to communicate can sometimes be a little clumsy for me which is why I provided those on the call. Sent out an email and I may have referenced it in my post on Facebook that people could use the universal needs list and also feelings.

We don't always have language for it. Not naturally, anyway. You said something interesting about how we try to conceal. We tend to try to find out what is alive in another person, and what's going on with another person because we feel energetically that something is happening. The problem is that both of us are trying to conceal that same thing. We're trying to figure it out, but we're also trying to hide it. That's why we start using all these strategies.

I want to open up the line in the next couple of minutes, but I want you to talk about how we find out what's alive in another person. Let's say I'm irritated about something and I'm not master's level today. I know there's something else going on with you. How do I then cut through that strategy or cut through what I might be perceived as irritating so that I can get to know what's happening? What can you tell the audience about that would help?

The first thing that comes to my mind is that list. Look at my list. I've been doing this since 2004. There's one in my car. There's one in my purse and it's not pretty, but I need to know what's going on with me so that I don't charge out or say something I'm going to regret, and so that I can be more of the person that I want to be in the world. I guess your example of you've annoyed me or I'm annoyed. If I'm annoyed enough, I don't think about what I need or what you need. I'm just thinking about what is annoying me and how to make it stop.

Learning is that vulnerability

The very first thing, as you said at the very beginning of the call, is to take that breath. My friend John says, “Pause when agitated,” because I can't even remember what feelings are going on in me when I am angry or sad or feeling despair. This is practice. This doesn't happen overnight. It's not something that you read Marshall's book and get it. You're telling your original question, so I stay on point.

How do we help the other person express their needs? If somebody comes and says, “Where's that report? How come you haven't called me back?” You can see that they're applying some strategy to get something, but they're not revealing that they're feeling irritated, sad, or lonely.

Thank you. An example helps me a lot. You've come to me and said, “Where's that report?” in a tone of voice that makes me feel like I am in danger. After practicing, just in the example, I can feel a sense of fear and want. Fear tells me that's a feeling. I know from reading Marshall's book that feeling is alive in me because I have a need. It's not just alive in me because of nothing. It's not alive in me just because you wanted that report and you said that because I have a need perhaps to keep this job, to keep you happy if you're my boss, and a need for respect and a need for understanding.

The very first thing that I practice is remembering that I have a need and when a feeling has come, stop. I can tell you about that report in one minute. Can we pause for one minute? During that time, I'm saying, “Terri-Lynn, what in the world are you feeling?” If I can't connect with me, what are the chances? If I can't connect with what's alive in me, what are the best parts of me? What are the vulnerable parts of me?

How am I going to answer you in a way that has much of a chance of meeting your need for trusting that I'm going to get you the report? When I can say, “There were two reports that you wanted. I'm a little confused.” That's a feeling because one was due today and one was due next week. You're asking me for one and I'm wondering if you could give me a little clarity on which report you wanted on today's date. That just comes to me, but does that speak to your question?

What I got from what you said is number one is we have to be connected to ourselves. We have to be able to take a moment and I know it sounds weird to say that somebody says, “Where's that report?” You go, “Give me a moment.”

Thank you.

Is not likely to go up.

No, but what you say is so true because I've noticed it in myself and again, having some sort of practice. For some of us that might be exercise. For others, it might be meditation. For us, some of us are going for a walk with your dog. Whatever that is, find a way to slow down your mind enough to get clear about what is it that you're feeling and needing at the moment, and then communicate that. I have three brothers and I'm the only girl.

Communicating with them is different than communicating with other women. We tend to want to guess each other's feelings more readily. It's almost like a game for us. You must be so sad. You must be so excited. We do those things a lot. Men don't tend to respond that way as often. At least my brothers haven't. What I've started to do with them as I understand more about how to communicate is I tell them, “I haven't talked to you in a couple of weeks. I need time to connect. Is this a good time?” or “I'm feeling a little out of source or lonely today. I want to see what's up with you.”

If I say that, “There's so much more available to me.” They will either put things down to address and take time with me, or they might say, “Not right now, can I call you back in a half hour or can we talk tomorrow?” I find that having my needs met always starts with being able to articulate my feelings and needs, not applying some manipulation-like strategy. Another word for strategy could be that manipulation. Something that we know works. Something that we know will get that person to light a fire under their butt to get a move or that, or that they will feel sorry for us.

The strategy is how we manipulate people to meet our needs. The challenge is that people usually can see beyond the strategy or manipulation. Sometimes that doesn't feel good to us to have to apply it, nor does it feel good to have to respond to somebody. No one likes to feel manipulated either.

What I also see that is so important is for us to create enough space, meaning another word for it could be grace. Another word could be understanding or compassion, that another person may not be some enlightened master like us. We might say, “I can sense you're irritated right now. I can sense you're in a rush.” It sounds like you need this to be efficient. When we are centered, we can then give enough space for the other person to be able to hear the other person in a more generous way. That's what I got.

I don't want to delay more because there's so much we could talk about, but I want to unmute the line. I'm not going to unmute the line. I'm going to allow you all to mute yourself, but please raise your hand if you find any of the information that Terry and I shared. You can raise your hand by clicking on the little hand-raising icon, or if you're on the phone, you can hit star nine and that'll show that you're raising your hand. Does this resonate with you all?

Just raise your hand if it's a yes. If you'd like to communicate something or share something, an example, unmute yourself and you can hit star six if you're on the telephone to unmute or you can click your microphone icon on the computer. Love to hear what your thoughts are so far. How is this related to what you said? Love to hear from whoever is at the phone number, the area code 315. What are you getting from our conversation so far? Where are you from?

This is Sarah.

Hi, Sarah. Tell us where you're calling from.

Lewisville, Texas.

Welcome. What are you getting so far, Sarah?

I need to be more centered so I can reflect instead of react.

Well said.

Sarah, that's awesome.

It's very comforting to listen and to react, but to resonate with like-minded people. That's what I appreciate and what I'm learning. I feel validation. I appreciate all of you.

I appreciate you too, Sarah, participating in our call.

I've been here, but I hit pound instead of star.

That's all good.

How did that strategy work for you?

I'm like, “I'm here.”

All right, thank you.

I will mute myself.

Thanks. Let's hear from Katherine or Georgia, what are you getting so far? What questions might you have? Unmute yourself and speak up. Star 6 to unmute.

Hi, this is Katherine.

Good morning, Katherine. Tell us where you're calling from.

I'm calling from Dallas, Texas. I think it's ironic that she touched on the driving situation because as much as I don't like to always admit it, especially in Dallas, it's always so chaotic and crazy. I moved here from a city that is smaller and more calm. Sometimes I take it personally when folks are cutting me off. I'm like what are you doing I went on this long road trip to take my guy down dating his daughter back to college on Sunday.

I offered to drive to give him a break since he's always driving. I call him Uber because he takes kids back and forth all over the place. With speeding and cutting me off, almost hit us. Of course, I'm usually by myself, but when I have people in the car, I get more protective over the person especially when it's his daughter and I'm trying to be safe and make an impression. All these things are going through my mind.

It finally occurred to me that I thought, because this past Friday, we had a scare with my nephew and they had to rush him in an ambulance, and so I started thinking like what she said that it's not about me it's not about the people in the car with me. What if they're going through something and they have an emergency? Instead of sitting there and being stubborn and staying in the lane, I thought okay let me move over. They have somewhere they need to be right now. Let me look past my own needs and think about what are they going through at the moment. It calmed me because I did get a little bit anxious.

Could I respond to Katherine for a second, Valerie? I love what you said. There are two things I wanted to mention, Katherine. One is self-compassion because I heard you say, “I need to and I should,” and I say that too. When I hear myself saying that, that's what tells me I need self-compassion. I would ask myself if I was feeling nervous, aggravated, and pressured by these people in the car. I could say, “Katherine, bless my little heart. I'm feeling the pressure.” The second you're connecting with yourself, then you can get on your side so that you're not wrong.

It's easier for your brain to go to the curiosity of what might be going on with the person who moments ago you were calling a moron. Does that make sense? It's the self-compassion, the nonviolence with yourself. You call the guy an idiot in front of somebody in the car. Katherine, bless my heart. This is hard. I'm in the car right now, this is hard. This is pressure and then once it comes to you, the heart relaxes. When you flip your lid, the front of the brain starts to connect with the part that's scared, hurt, worried, or pressured. That's when it comes to you, “That's right, curious. Maybe that guy,” and there you are. I wonder if you could say back what you heard, Katherine, and I said that was a lot of words.

I guess initially getting in touch with that feeling or that emotion that I'm feeling at that particular moment and saying it's okay to feel this way. You can't do it so easily.

That's like, Katherine, you're a human. We forget when an idiot drives across in the car. Humans forget that they have feelings and then when you remember, “That's me forgetting that I had. I was irritated.” I'm all human, it's okay. That is the actual jute that allows your brain that you may have flipped your lid to reengage with the part of the brain that goes, this is curious, that guy's a human too, something might be going on. It doesn't happen often in real time. Sometimes this is why some of these callers and hopes work here creating this, I think it is a brilliant way to a new way to creating a new world, actually, quite honestly. Anything else, Katherine, that you heard or that meant something?

I think part of the thing that I know that I struggle with is being vulnerable. Sometimes being able to accept that connection or the feeling and go with it. As you mentioned, whether that's bad or good, because for me, vulnerable used to feel very weak. I've had to do some self-reflection, do some journaling, and other things to help me accept that vulnerability because I used to feel like oh this feels uncomfortable. I feel very weak right now. It doesn't feel right. Accepting that vulnerability I think it's one of the things that you said that spoke to me.

I'm glad to hear that. Marshall talked a lot about how we were educated. We've all been educated but vulnerability is dumb and weak. What I'm learning is that vulnerability is strong and smart. Thanks so much for sharing.

We've all been educated that vulnerability is dumb and weak, but it’s really about being strong and smart.

Katherine, you rock, girlfriend.

I want to acknowledge you, Katherine, too, because what you shared and the fact that you shared it is an act of vulnerability. Get that?

Thank you.

It’s not only the sharing because what you share also conveys something. It conveys what's important to you, conveys an area of your life that you'd like to have some sort of breakthrough in that you'd like to make some shift. Consider that it requires us to be vulnerable, to release, or to reveal something if we want to address something. Tell them that we will grow in any area that we conceal. You can't unclutter a closet that is locked with a padlock. You got to unlock it. You have to open it up before you can start taking out and dealing with the things that are in there. I feel that way about vulnerability too.

Love the padlock. I can't get to the clutter unless I have a padlock in that closet. That is brilliant. I love it. Thank you so much for that, Valerie.

I want to hear from Georgia. She raised her hand earlier. Georgia, what would you like to share? What questions do you have? Tell us who you are and where you're calling from.

I've never done one of these before. I’m a little bit confused but now that I found my bearings. Good morning to you. I tuned in to see my beautiful friend, TD, because I've been missing your lovely face. To celebrate you being able to spread the wonderful NVC.

Georgia, where are you calling from?

I'm from Arlington. Terry's home away from home. Her little stopping point on her way to the jail some days.

I teach class not to stay at the jail. To be clear, there's nothing wrong with staying there. Sometimes the best things happen there but it's true, just to clarify.

I tuned in to listen. As I said, to celebrate the opportunity for TD to be able to talk about NVC. I've been practicing with her for many years. I have not recently due to some changes in our practice place, but I hope to update that soon. I used to also go with her and Connie to the jail and I've missed that. With NVC, we're getting a practice group together. Practicing it is the only way it can stay with you. Learning NVC was like learning to speak Chinese. It was so different from how I was raised to connect with my feelings before I responded to somebody. It changed my life. I guess it was about 2007 when I started NVC. Now, it was ten years.

Just one moment, for those who are not familiar, NVC is the acronym for nonviolent communication. I wanted to make sure that was clear for others. Would you mind saying a little bit more about what was the change? What was your life before and what's your life like now as a result of practicing this type of communication?

Before, I didn't know I had all those feelings. I thought there was anger. I thought I was happy, angry, mad, or sad. I didn't know I could be disappointed in something instead. I didn't know I didn't have to be mad. I could be disappointed in something because I needed to be heard, I wanted to matter, or I wanted respect. Before, all I knew was I didn't know I needed respect. I just knew you were making me mad and I was angry. All I could be was angry and not knowing why. I would take it out on you.

Let me show you I'm angry. How many ways can I show you? Now, I can stop and say, what's bugging me? As you get into NVC, we have different techniques called jacking, where I can call you every name in the world in my head and jump up and down and then connect with, “They are being a so-and-so, but why is that making me angry?” I have to connect with me. I was able to connect with myself and take that pause before reacting. That’s one of the things and then being able to listen to people in a different way.

Here, try to connect with your feelings and what you might be. I can remember at one point years ago, you guys probably heard this story, I was traveling with my daughter and son-in-law and he said something very rude to me that I called him every name in the book inside my head, and then I thought, “Why am I so mad?” It's because I was angry. It's okay to be angry. I'm angry because I would like to be appreciated and have some respect.

Once I was able to connect with me, it calmed me down. I did this instantaneously because I'd been practicing for a while, but I was able to take that breath and think, “Why did he use that tragic strategy on me? What do you think his needs were?” Well, he was, in my mind, I could only guess. I'll never know if that was it, but it worked for me to get that. Maybe he wanted some peace and harmony with his wife and so he jumped at me for something.

In that moment, it diffused everything. Before NVC, I would have been mad at him for the rest of the day, for another week. By the time I worked that out in my head, by the time we got to the hotel room, it was out of my mind even though I couldn't bring it up. It's a good example of how that worked for me to take anger and relieve it right then instead of carrying it with me for days.

Thank you so much for sharing that, Georgia. One thing I got that I think would be helpful for the rest of the audience is asking that question. Why might that person be using this strategy? Why are they choosing that strategy? What need would they like met as a result? Although they may be concealing the need, the strategy will probably point to what it is that they're committed to, they would like to get. We can respond to a need. It feels a lot more authentic for us.

It's not as comfortable. We don't feel like we're being manipulated as much as we feel like. We then choose to respond to that need. That's brilliant. That question will help me reflect on how I can meet this person's need, as opposed to how I defend, protect, or withhold because I feel like I'm being manipulated. We have time for one more comment. Thank you, Georgia.

It was a joy seeing both of you. Nice to meet you too, Valerie.

Nice to meet you, Georgia. Thank you. I see Elaine's hand's been raised. Elaine, what are you thinking? What are you feeling? What are you needing?

I joined this conversation late. I had some of my own signals a little screwed up about where to go and how to join in. I was getting familiar with the conversation being raised I immediately found this inner barrage of self-attacks going on. Why didn't I get here on time? What I want to share is as I go deeper into my own spiritual inquiry and self-care, oddly, it seems like the voice of the inner critic's volume and frequency of high volume is greater than ever.

It seems like I have less problem with blaming others and stuff like that. Terry, I so much appreciate you talking about the simple act of whenever you notice some form of alarm, attack, or discomfort going on you pause and breathe, and open up to this space of curiosity, which essentially means, maybe there's another way I could look at this.

As I've been grappling with my own stuff, and daring to move back into kindness, I've been very surprised to see multiple times in the last week, the whole a pono practice come up, which is another way of engaging in NVC, the nonviolent communication, for interrupting this whole human body-identified pattern of attack and defend. It's so simple.

When I noticed my own stuff going on, like being late and I didn't find it and I missed some of the stuff, I started saying “I'm sorry” to myself, “I love you. Please forgive me,” which means letting all of these judgments be erased. I love you, I'm sorry, please forgive me, and then this great one, “Thank you,” because then as I say thank you, as I go through this process, I'm back at the place of curiosity. What am I going to experience?

Like who's going to be here? Interesting there was a Katherine Gonzales here and I know Kathleen Gonzales. For a moment, I thought, “Is this a friend of mine from Arizona?” It's not her, but then I'm curious. Who’s Katherine? I'm happy to be here exploring this whole topic of finding these beautiful ways to get kinder and curious and more connected.

Elaine, you couldn't have said it better. That was my need for today's session. It was a way to get us all connected with each other, which is why I have this call called Time to Come Alive specifically because there's a Howard Thurman quote that I love, which he says, “Don't worry about what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it because what the world needs are more people who have come alive.”

Coming alive is connecting. Coming alive is loving ourselves. Coming alive is not having to release the judgment, being thankful. It's well put. That's the purpose of this time together. I am so grateful Terry, for you having introduced this. For some people, this is the first time they've heard of it and it's an opportunity to explore further. Terry mentioned the book Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg.

A Language of Life.

Perfect. Please email me at if you want information about the book, or if you want the list of feelings and needs and you weren't able to get it initially. Terry's much-loved version of it. As part of this role, I'm an executive coach and a professional speaker. The reason I do this is an opportunity for me to share what's on the hearts and minds of people that I work with.

That's the things that are essential for us to live a life that we love. I want to be able to bring that to life. Thank you all so very much for participating. We've hit the mark for the hour here. I want to respect people's time. Terry, if you have a few moments and you'd like to stay on for any additional questions that people might have, please do. As you all know, I will put the recording on Facebook, on LinkedIn, as well as send it via email.

For those of you who are interested, subscribe to my YouTube channel and you'll be able to get the notification once this particular video is posted. Thank you all so much for your participation today. Feel free to email me with questions and Terry and I will stay here a little longer if you have any specific issues you'd like to walk through or comments that you'd like to make.

Thanks, Valerie.

Thank you. Anything else that you'd like to share? Go ahead, Terry.

When you sent me the video of your last call and I heard you, I wanted to be your client immediately and then know what an executive coach was, just like I didn't know what a feeling was. I'm so grateful that you're doing this work and putting out there what you do so that people can be helped by it. I think it's the smartest commercial for your business, as well as a way for you to meet that need of yours to contribute. I admire you and even regardless of if I call you by your last name. I'm 65, I'm old, I get to do that stuff.

Yes, you're more than welcome to.

I'm glad I remembered anything about it because I normally don't get up this early, but it's worth every second of it to be with you and everyone who called in. This is a real honor. That's phenomenal.

I don't think I've shared that with you, Terry, but one of my coaching clients, we talked about nonviolent communication and I had her because there were some conversations that she needed to have some difficulty conversations needed to have. I showed her what you taught me on how to avoid conversations from blame and judgment. Get looking at and let's observe what are the facts, what are the issues, what are my feelings, what are my needs, and then what's the request.

It transformed the interactions that she was going to have with her team and her supervisors. This stuff is so powerful. There are some very simple techniques for the most part, but the presence of mind to use them is usually the area that I like to explore. There are some times you get so triggered that you forget that we have so many tools at our disposal to communicate more effectively with people. That's been a huge game-changer for me personally too. I'm so glad for this reminder. I needed it.

That's the brilliance because I do think the need for interdependence that we have for each other. We're not trying to change other people's minds to match ours. We're trying to gather people who have the same values that we have, as you mentioned knowing what's going on in you. What are your feelings and being willing to be vulnerable? That may not be somebody's high value. They may not even be able to access what feelings are going on in them. It's on us to be curious as to what trauma must someone have been through to cope, not be able to share what's going on. I like to speak for those people because it's hard for them to speak for themselves, but they don't need our judgment. They've got enough of their own.

Yes, what trauma might they have experienced to have created that strategy to cope? Another great question.

I get goosebumps when I get to see your beautiful face and that skin and you're young and you remember people's names. I'm all about this. Everyone that's in this together. I feel love, belonging, and connection and that's not something I feel when I wake up in the morning.

Look at that. Today you started feeling irritated. Look how you ended up. It’s only a couple of hours.

I haven't known yet.

What are you going to do with all this? I am so super grateful to you for taking the time and being such a role model of how to love oneself and expand that love and ripple. As you said, the ripple effect of your love for yourself also impacts all of us, and for being so generous and sharing that with me both throughout this week and with those of us that those callers that join our time today. Anyone who will be watching this beyond this time will also benefit.

Think of that, everything that you've shared and everything that you are will have continuous ripple effects beyond this moment. When I think about myself that everything they do and say has an impact on others, what's the impact that I want to leave on this? Will I give things life or death? Will I allow that to come through me so that it impacts others and their ripples will also impact others?

That's the kind of world I want to live in.

With that said, I will end our time together. Thank you, all, for joining this.

Important Links

What a treat to learn about how we sabotage ourselves when we are not conscious of our feelings and needs. Terry Doherty was a true ray of sunlight and brought depth and compassion to the subject of non-violent communication.


Some key points:

●        Self-connection requires us to be mindful of our feelings and needs

●        Learn how to listen to others with no judgment (especially ourselves)

●        People don't fight about needs; they fight about our strategies

Subscribe to my YouTube channel and access new and past episodes! To receive episodes in your inbox, subscribe at




bottom of page