Feelings and Needs

Basic vocabulary for the language of life

Two sets of feelings…

… when needs are not met‘Bad,’ hurt, guilt, shame, envy, regret
Sad, lonely, sorrow, despair, discouraged
Mad, angry, frustrated, resentful, irritated
Fear, concern, worry, anxious, insecure
Hate, dislike, disgust, contempt, hostile
Tense, uptight, stressed, restless, nervous
Confused, torn, puzzled, overwhelmed, lost
Turned off, shut down, defended, guarded
Disconnected, alienated, separate, numb
… when needs are met‘Good,’ content, safe, satisfied, happy
Glad, pleased, delighted, thrilled, joyful
Relieved, reassured, encouraged, renewed
Curious, wonder, enchanted, fascinated
Grateful, appreciative, thankful, blessed
Relaxed, comfortable, settled, at ease, calm
Confident, optimistic, hopeful, empowered
Inspired, enthusiastic, exhilarated, passionate
Connected, warmed, moved, open, at peace

Universal human needs…

for physical well-being -nourishment, security, dignity, power -stimulation, movement, rest, sleep -comfort, ease, relaxation, warmth -attention, care, protection, pleasure -contact, touch, affection, play, fun -belonging, inclusion, mattering, aliveness

… for mental well-being
-expression, exploration, inspiration -freedom, contribution, participation -challenge, adventure, clarity, order -purposeful activity, vision, meaning -communication, dialogue, inquiry, truth -competence, confidence, creativity, learning

… for psychological well-being -self-care, self-worth, self-responsibility -autonomy, empathy, honesty, intimacy -understanding, transparency, closeness -kindness, consideration, trust, fairness -appreciation, acknowledgment, respect -community, authenticity, harmony, balance -celebration, mourning, support, connection

… for spiritual well-being
-being conscious, spacious, present
-integrity, truthfulness, goodness, beauty -forgiveness, reconciliation, grace, joy -gratitude, surrender, faith, service, humility -communion, reverence for all life, compassion -transforming consciousness, awakening -experiencing the sacred, Truth, Love, Peace

“Most of us grew up speaking a language that encourages us to label, compare, demand, and pronounce judgments – rather than to be aware of what we are feeling and needing.” Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, founder of Nonviolent Communication, NVC

Adapted from the work of Dr. Marshall B. Rosenberg
and the Center for Nonviolent Communication www.cnvc.org