The human needs that we all share are the foundation of the Nonviolent Communication (NVC) process because it is in connecting to needs that we find inner freedom, empowerment and compassion. Needs: A Foundation of Inner Freedom, Empowerment and Peace The human needs we all share are the foundation of the Nonviolent Communication (NVC) process because it is in connecting to needs that we find inner freedom, empowerment and compassion. Unfortunately, many people have negative associations with the word “need" such as needy, weak, selfish, dependent and so on. These associations come from a very different understanding of the word "need" than that found in NVC. In the practice of NVC, needs are intrinsic, abstract qualities of our life energy, of our inner wholeness, for example belonging, fun, love, learning, connection, authenticity and so on. Needs are unattached to outcomes and move us forward to express, grow, contribute and connect in the world. Material things or actions are strategies for meeting needs. For example, a cell phone is a material thing that can help meet a need for connection and belonging but it is not a need itself. And washing dishes is an action that meets needs for order and cleanliness. However, who washes the dishes and when and how they get washed are all parts of the strategy, not the needs. Suffering can occur when we confuse strategies with needs and become attached to specific strategies or outcomes. We can free ourselves from suffering by letting go of strategies and outcomes that aren’t working, returning inward to our needs, and then letting our natural, need-connected creativity lead us to other strategies for meeting our needs.[B3] Negative associations to needs come when we look outside of ourselves and see things such as money, material possession, status and approval from others as needs. There is a lot of conditioning in the world that trains us to try and get people to do what we want so we can feel whole inside, or acquire material possessions so we can be happy. Looking outside of ourselves for our needs leads to associations of lack and neediness with the word need. With NVC the order is reversed. We find empowerment by connecting to the abundant wholeness of our needs that is always present inside and then invite others or life in general to meet our needs. Marshall Rosenberg, the originator of NVC, says, "Everything we do in life is an attempt to meet a need to allow our life energy to be expressed in the world." If we remember this, then we can have more compassion for ourselves and others. If we choose to do something that we later regret, we can find compassion by looking at the need we were trying to meet and the needs that didn’t get met. Exploring what could have been done differently instead of blaming and judging ourselves will help us learn and grow and make better choices in the future. If we remember to connect with our needs as abstract qualities of life energy within us, stay unattached to strategies and outcomes, and find compassion and learning for how we choose to meet our needs, then we can create more peace within ourselves and better contribute to peace in the world. And we can also find more freedom, empowerment, and compassion with how we express, grow, contribute and connect in the world.