This article is about Nonviolent Communication and three important ingredients that make us better communicators. Actually, it’s about how to come back to open-heartedness in the midst of chaos in our attempt to relate. It is an article about taking your choice back, and how you want to care for what is important to you by becoming conscious about the conditionings that are running in your communication.

Read until the end and you find an invitation to join us (the team of Empathic Way Europe) on a journey to gather the skills and mindset of Nonviolent Communication.

My name is Cori and I am part of the team of Empathic Way Europe. I started to learn about Nonviolent Communication in my studies as a tool for peacemaking. When I read the book “Nonviolent Communication. A language of Life” it was a bone-deep-knowing that I needed to find ways to learn more – to contribute to peace and be able to transform conflicts. Little did I know what life-changing inner learning journey I started. And the learning and being in awe of the power of communication still continues, after more than 15 years. It became like air for me, to be able to communicate from the heart and become an inner explorer to understand more and more how we can relate with one another in a way that is nourishing.

Communication is everything and everywhere. It is energetic and very concrete at the same time. We can feel the impact of a word immediately in our body – we can perceive it as loving and kind or harsh and hurtful. Most of our communication is non-verbal: we communicate about 90% through sound and body language (you can read about a study of Dr Mehrabian here: [08.09.2023]).

Regarding this, it is even more important to know what exactly we are saying and where it comes from, which message we are actually transporting through our speech.


Ingredient number 1: GETTING AWARE of our CONDITIONINGS


“As we learn to speak from the heart, we’re changing the habits of a lifetime.”
Marshall B. Rosenberg


Oh, how much I love this quote from Marshall B. Rosenberg, the founder of Nonviolent Communication. It emphasizes that we forgot how to speak from the heart, because we were conditioned with something different and, most importantly, that we can learn it again. Some of us might have been lucky, but many, including me, had no education in how to self-connect and relate with others from the heart. What I learned was more about how to disconnect, how to not listen to my heart, how to not stand for what is important to me, and how to not be curious about what is important for the other person.

Marshall B. Rosenberg has framed the 4 D‘s that many of us have been taught to relate with one another. Getting aware of those 4 D’s is an opportunity to decondition from them, to remember our natural capacities to connect. As soon as we become aware and observe our conditioned way of relating, we can slow down, pause and start choosing consciously how we want to relate in each moment…

…as human beings…

…from heart to heart…

Marshall B. Rosenberg was stating these 4 D’s of disconnection from ourselves and from others:

  1. Diagnosis: When we diagnose, we evaluate something as “good” or “bad”, “right” or “wrong” and we put labels on ourselves and others. In an everyday situation, this could look like “I can see that you are angry” or “You have no reason to be pissed with me” sentences. Both examples imply that I know, what is going on in the other person or in general. I hold on to “my” story and “my truth” as valid without asking the other person about her/his/their experience.

    And then we start to think in terms of…
  2. Deserve: This means that if someone has a specific label, she/he/they “deserve” a specific consequence, which can be a reward or punishment. I understand also that deserving is fed by comparison to specific standards. It can quickly become an unbalance of power by having an “authority” that sets the standards.

    From there we come to the disconnection phenomenon of…
  3. Demand: If I have power, I can demand or give orders. If I hear demands, I can submit to orders instead of relating through requests. The focus is on the outcome rather than on the connection. Demanding something means that there is no openness for a “No” and it only survives in an atmosphere of fear. 

    What happens is…
  4. Denial of Responsibility:

Another kind of life-alienating communication is denial of responsibility. Communication is life-alienating when it clouds our awareness that we are each responsible for our own thoughts, feelings, and actions. The use of the common expression have to, as in “There are some things you have to do, whether you like it or not,” illustrates how personal responsibility for our actions can be obscured in speech. The phrase makes one feel, as in “You make me feel guilty,” is another example of how language facilitates denial of personal responsibility for our own feelings and thoughts.”
Marshall B. Rosenberg

Sometimes we are the sender of these patterns and sometimes we receive this kind of communication. Can you relate to these 4 D’s in some way?

Getting to know our communication patterns that actually don’t support relationships is a huge step.

OK, what now? 

You might ask: “How do we connect then?”.

Before I answer this question, I’d like to say that in my opinion it is not the ultimate goal to stay connected all the time and to keep the heart open, but more to relate to what is and be honest about it, even when it means disconnection and a closed heart. Paradoxically to be honest about that can contribute to connection. For example, noticing and expressing: “I feel disconnected and have a lot of judgments in my head right now. I might rather take some time for myself and continue this conversation another time” can be a gamechanger in situations where it becomes heated and the words and energy are tense.

Through Nonviolent Communication we can grow our awareness of how we communicate and at the same time, we get tools to listen and speak in a way that supports CONNECTION. When we connect from the heart, we acknowledge the ever-changing flow of life, we dive into relationships as something always changing. We all are changing all the time. The only thing we can do is to meet each other moment by moment, every time anew. We can only guess and ask but never know what is happening inside the other person. A powerful approach is to BE with ourselves and each other, instead of trying to fix, act, change or assume…

What a powerful gift it is, when we develop our capacity of PRESENCE.


Ingredient number 2: STOPPING and BEING PRESENT with WHAT IS


“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Viktor Frankl


The more I am able to be in the present, to be fully with what is in the here and now, the more I get aware of my conditioning. I notice my patterns of thinking and behaving, that run on autopilot and often are very quick in reacting and closing the heart aka the possibility for connection. I stop relating to “what should be”, “what could be”, “how I want it/him/her/them differently” and so on. I love it when I catch myself, stop and allow myself to breathe.

The “Stop-Muscle” is an incredibly important muscle. It takes quite some training to strengthen this fellow and I want to celebrate every millisecond I was able to stop before reacting “as usual”.

Stopping creates a momentum of choice. I start to sense behind the obvious, get curious and relate to what is going on inside of me. I can do that only when I get that clarity and when I am able to be present, otherwise I am occupied with my inner turbulence and fog.

How to do that?

  • Welcoming what IS

Nothing is unwelcome inside. I am becoming aware of my thoughts. I might be resistant to what happens at the moment. All the thoughts, all the judgments, all the resistance is welcomed. Creating a space inside for what is, is magic. It is a chance to expand my being beyond who I am now. I become the witness of who I am and learn to see myself from a different perspective.

  • Feeling it all

Then I start to know how I feel in the moment, with all that is. There is more than “good” or “bad”, I try to get in contact with the nuances of feelings. Feelings can differ from being very strong to being subtle. The more I get to know my feelings, the more precise I can get in my communication.

  • Connection to “the energy of needs”

Now we come to the core of Nonviolent Communication: needs. Feelings, comfortable or uncomfortable, guide us to our needs. Needs are the expression of life energy. Needs can be met or unmet – when we become aware of their energy, we get in contact with something beautiful.

Needs tell me what is important for me and/or in the situation.

Needs are the quality I long for.

When we become clear about which needs need attention right now, a beautiful dynamic can arise, to stand up for needs and thus make life richer and more wonderfulfilled. Again a place of magic.

Ingredient number 3: CONNECT

And now it is time to connect to the other, or the situation… while staying connected to our inner aliveness. We can express what is going on inside and be curious to take in what is happening in the other person through asking, guessing and listening for feelings and needs.

Often Nonviolent Communication is pictured as a dance. Slowing down, listening to the music of life (What is the melody about?), leaning into the rhythm, finding the choreography, stumbling, falling out of the dance, coming back, enjoying the movement, leading, being led… It is not about being right or being better but creating something beautiful together.


The Invitation

How do you feel when you think about your relationships?

How do you feel about the way you relate with yourself, with the people and beings that are closest to you and your everyday life, your partners, your parents, your children, other family members, friends, the people in your work, people on your social media feed, all the people that you encounter in your everyday life in the different spaces and places?

Are you living the quality of connections that your heart is longing for?

I invite you to gift yourself a minute, to really feel what you are longing for in your relationships.

I guess that you connect to a place that feels safe, where you can meet the other in your authenticity. Where you connect in a way that nourishes your soul and is based on mutual respect and consideration, where you are seen and cared for, and so much more.

Is it so?

I know that so much of this is possible when we take the leap of unlearning the reactive patterns, face our conditionings and put effort into learning the skills of communication. It takes some practice and dedication but it is a path of magic.

And hurray! There is a great opportunity to receive guidance and support on this path:


Four months of online group learning with lots of practice, reflection and feedback.

It is a safe and benevolent space, where you can experiment, try, ask questions, connect and get to know people from all over the world that are open-hearted and curious.

We believe in you! We know that you can become a better communicator and really enjoy the relationships that you carry in your heart already!



Cori Liebhart Empathic Way EuropeCori Liebhart

Peace and Conflict Researcher, Soulpreneur, Singer-Songwriter

I got to know NVC in 2008 and since then I am on the path of practicing, sharing, creating and co-creating. After building an online community (it is more a Gang actually) for 6 years, working in the field of conflict facilitation and as a coach, I was working for the Civil Peace Service in Nepal.

NVC for me is peacework, knowledge and wisdom combined, a language of all senses, consciousness-training. It is a tool for me to stay on my path, be open for the challenges of life and be present in every encounter I experience. I am the mother of two boys. Being part of the Empathic Way Europe fulfills many needs like co-creation, contribution, adventure, community, peace.

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