Nourish relationships and self-care

Empathy works. It always does.

Appreciation NVC-style (1/3)

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“When we use NVC (=Nonviolent Communication) to express appreciation, it is purely to celebrate, not to get something in return. Our sole intention is to celebrate the way our lives have been enriched by others.” (Rosenberg, M, Nonviolent Communication, A Language Of Life, 2003, p. 186)

Appreciation NVC-style inspires us to express ourselves in a way that fully reveals our experience without judging others. We share the specific actions that contributed to our well-being, the needs that have been fulfilled, and the feelings engendered by the fulfillment of those needs. The focus is to create a clear understanding of how our life was enriched. The specifics of our observation and the honesty about our feelings and needs enhance the impact of our communication. The lack of judgement invites a shared acceptance and connection around the purity of the celebration.

12287525_910657528989506_173872630_oWhen our needs are unmet, requests help to ask for what we want.

When our needs are met, appreciation celebrates what worked for us.

Here is an example of what NVC-appreciation can sound like:

“When I saw your FB-message “You can absolutely use my cartoons! I just went to your blog and the cartoon looks so cute and I love your post! I’m thrilled that you like my cartoons enough to put some on your wonderful website.”, I felt excited, happy, and enthralled. It met my needs for support, creativity, and collaboration.”

Or, maybe less formal:

“Wow, I felt excited, happy and enthralled, when I read your FB-message. I so like the support, creativity and collaboration!”

Appreciation NVC-style might take more words. It might even be a bit more vulnerable to share our feelings and needs directly and honestly. I find NVC less gratuitous than praise (“You’re such an awesome person!” “That was a fantastic thing you did”), as it zooms in on the clarity of our experience and not on judging our supporter through praise. Marshall describes all “praise and compliments to be life-alienating;… it establishes the speaker as someone who sits in judgments.” (Rosenberg, M., p. 185)

We don’t want to sit in judgment. We want to be vulnerable and authentic. Appreciation takes us out of playing God. It brings us back to who we are and what we need. Appreciation helps deepen connection between two human beings who both have the power to enrich life and appreciate the contribution.


You want help to appreciate NVC-style? Contact me for a free, discovery session, 512-589-0482.

Thank you, Amy, for allowing me to use your cartoons on my website. I feel real excited to work together on a world with more compassion, empathy, and veganism! Add a link to RedandHowling, if you want to repost this cartoon.

Author: Elly van Laar

I am a coach. I specialize in helping professionals schedule time for relationships and self-care. I have a Master's degree in Political Science, Leiden University, the Netherlands. I love meditation, walking, gardening, biking, and hanging out with family and friends.

6 thoughts on “Appreciation NVC-style (1/3)

  1. Thanks Elly, this was very timely for me… My Dad’s 70th is close and my 7 siblings and I are creating a group art work with messages of appreciation. I had been absolutely stumped on what to write but sat with this advice and was able to be vulnerable and authentic in what I wrote… and am now feeling very much at peace in my relationship with my dad and also very satisfied with this self expression.
    Thanks 🙂

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    • Thanks, Rowena for your comment. I feel touched, when I read how the post helped you express yourself honestly and vulnerably towards your dad. I can imagine the joy you feel with a deeper connection with him.

      Since you read my blog: which topic would you like me to write about? I would love to contribute to your needs.

      With loving-kindness, Elly, 512-589-0482.

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  2. Smile to you Aralyn. Practicing appreciation has brought me acceptance, joy and peace in my life. I hope it does for you too.

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  3. Think I understand,

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  4. Marshall describes all “praise and compliments to be life-alienating;… it establishes the speaker as someone who sits in judgments.” (Rosenberg, M., p. 185)

    We don’t want to sit in judgment. We want to be vulnerable and authentic. Appreciation takes us out of playing God. It brings us back to who we are and what we need. Appreciation helps deepen connection between two human beings who both have the power to enrich life *and* appreciate the contribution.

    I like this part, separating praise of if a god and appreciation of a contribution.

    Aralyn Hughes Aralyn’s Home Economics

    *512.698.6800www.aralyn.com *

    *LOVE IN THE SIXTIES film trailer click here * *KID ME NOT, an anthology edited by Aralyn Hughes.* *Available at http://amzn.com/1938749103 * *Foreword written by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love* *www.childfreewomen.com *

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