64 Days – Week 2

1st Monday Suzanne
Practice Group Curriculum


Week Two - Still Some Gathering - Focus on Feelings and Judgment

Thoughts and Intentions for the Week

On the journey from blame and habitual reaction to the place of natural curiosity about feelings and needs, there lies a lifetime of opportunity. To start that journey we are going to focus on both feelings and judgments as a path or a signal to pay attention to our needs and ultimately all needs. 

Feelings and expressing feelings can be thought of as the experience of life of energy. If we see that energy as a message to us from our body about our "Needs" (met or unmet) then feeling and expressing our feelings, can be a way to deeply and quickly connect to our needs and ultimately life. So in the model of NVC, we work on paying attention to "Feelings" as a way to pay attention to "Needs."

Judgments can also be thought of as a signal or indication that we (or others) have met or unmet needs. Usually, when we're experiencing judgment, we are focused on thoughts of "right and wrong" or "should and shouldn't." These thoughts do not usually connect us with the life energy of feelings and the needs we are seeking to fulfill. In this week's exercises we will practice distinguishing judgments and feelings and using them as a guide to our needs and the needs of others. 

Homework Review

Reading and Discussion

Read the following and afterwards share what was meaningful for you.

I can handle your telling me
What I did or didn’t do.
And I can handle your interpretations
But please don’t mix the two.

If you want to confuse any issue,
I can tell you how to do it:
Mix together what I do
With how you react to it.

Tell me you’re disappointed
With the unfinished chores you see,
But calling me “irresponsible”
Is no way to motivate me.

And tell me that you’re feeling hurt
When I say “no” to your advances,
But calling me a frigid man
Won’t increase your future chances.

Yes, I can handle your telling me
What I did or didn’t do,
And I can handle your interpretations,
But please don’t mix the two.


Discussion Questions

What is a Jackal and what's a Giraffe?

Are Jackals bad?

Should we learn to ignore Jackal thoughts?

Exercise #1 - Feelings - Connecting to your Life-Energy. 

When we focus on our feelings, we can more readily connect to our needs. That's the reason many people like to use a list of feelings. However, when we focus on words like "abandoned" or "misled" or "unheard" we can prevent ourselves from getting to the "REAL" feelings and therefore our needs. "Non-feeling" words are more like accusations or judgments than feelings. So in the use of these words we are likely focusing attention outward, to what others "should" or "shouldn't" do and in the process losing touch with our feelings and needs. In this exercise, we are working on feeling feelings and distinguishing them from "non-feelings."

Part 1- Being in touch Feeling Charades.

Go around the group with eac person picking one of the "HEADING" words from the feelings sheet. To start, give a thumbs up or down to let the group know if it's a "Fulfilled Feeling" or an Unfulfilled Feeling". Then act it out. Of course, we invite anyone to pass or repeat.

Part 2- Getting in touch

"Non-feeling" words may not directly connect to a feeling and need yet when we slow down and think about it, often there is something like "sad" or "scared" or "frustrated." Break into small groups or stay as a large group and discuss a) What is the "judgment thought" associated with the following words and then what feelings and needs could be "underneath" them.

Abandoned... Judgment?...Feelings and Needs?

Cheated... Judgment?... Feelings and Needs?

Unheard... Judgment?... Feelings and Needs?

Disrespected... Judgment?... Feelings and Needs?

Exercise #2 - Observation and Evaluation

Making clear observations helps us to communicate free of judgment and connect with others, especially in tense situations. The following exercise helps us see how we often use judgments in our language and how we might think and speak in a way that is clearer and more connected.

Part 1 - For the following statements, do you consider the speaker to be making an observation, evaluation or a mixture of both? Circle one.

Part 2 - If you believe a statement is other than pure observation, write down what might be said to make it evaluation free.

1) You're being a really good friend. (O, E or O+E)

2) I love the way your hair frames your eyes. (O, E or O+E)

3) This wine is terrible. (O, E or O+E)

4) I'm really not enjoying this wine. (O, E or O+E)

5) I’m noticing that I’m getting agitated, listening to you talk for so long. (O, E or O+E)

Part 3 – Harvesting  and Discussion

1) When you are finished, discuss what if any, difference you noticed in your reactions to the statements above (with and without evaluation).

2) Why do we emphasize the use of evaluation free observation in NVC?

Exercise #3 - Translating into Feelings and Needs

"Translate" the following Statements into Feelings and Needs by using an observation, feeling and a need.

1. You’re just not putting in your share of the work.

When I see/hear:

I feel:

Because I need:

2. This place is a mess!

When I see/hear:

I feel:

Because I need:

3. Use a statement you have thought or said recently.

When I see/hear:

I feel:

Because I need:

Harvest by sharing several examples from the group and re-enforce concepts around feeling v. non-feeling words and recognizing/translating our own judgment.


1) Keep a journal of 2 interactions each day, including an observation, feeling(s) and need(s).

2) Write down 2 or 3 interactions that happened during the week where you were judging someone (including yourself). This is a "Jackalog" that can be used at the next practice group to find your feelings and needs.

3) Optional translation exercise. In addition to writing your "Jackalog", see if you can figure out and write down what you were feeling and needing when you were holding the judgment.