How to Say Thank You During the Holidays

My friend Alan Seid over at Cascadia Workshops has a new post and video which offers a great glimpse into the world of Non-Violent Communication (or “Empowered Communication”), and is very appropriate for the season.

Do you sometimes feel awkward about expressing a Thank You?

Have you ever had the sense that the other person isn’t receiving your expression of gratitude in the way you meant it?

During the holiday time there is an increased opportunity to give and receive gratitude with the people in your life.

Expressing gratitude and appreciation can feel empty, or it can leave us feeling very connected and fulfilled, depending on how it is given and received.

In this short video, I share insights into the different ways to share and be heard when expressing thanks and appreciation.

A Valuable Tool

I appreciate Alan’s post above, as I have found this tool – Marshall Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication process (NVC) – to be extremely helpful. It can initially seem clunky and awkward, and it has its own lingo to get used to. The important thing using this process is to become committed to holding an “NVC Consciousness” as you struggle with the tool.


Stripped to it’s bare nuts and boldts,  the following components of NVC are relevant to me in regards to how to grow my communication skills, and how I would like to be communicated with.


1)  NVC Consciousness tells us that all anyone is ever doing is trying to meet their needs, and all anyone is ever saying is “Please” and “Thank You.”

Any time anyone is saying anything that sounds like judgment, blame, criticism, or a demand, you can know that they are merely providing you with a “tragic expression of an unmet need.” So you can translate that they are simply asking for you to please help them meet a need, or thanking you for the gift you’ve given them that met a need. All we ever do is try to meet our needs, and all we ever say is “please” and “thank you.”


2) As much as we can, we want to eliminate blame, judgment, and criticism from our communication with others and with our self – eliminate our own tragic ways of expressing ourselves. We call these expressions tragic, because these expressions rarely result in actually getting our needs met. The beginning point of this process is to begin making Observations rather than Evaluations.  Just the observable facts and direct sensory experiences.  When we learn to separate observations from evaluations, things become so much clearer, and the triggering of others greatly diminishes.


3) As much as we can, we want to clearly distinguish what we are feeling (physical sensation + emotion) from what we are thinking. Thoughts are mental, and include beliefs, ideas, and opinions. When we can learn to disentangle the feeling body from the thinking mind, we will be that much closer to true clarity, and less likely to accidently judge others.


4) We need to get in touch with our own true needs – our survival needs, but especially our “thrival” needs. When we can learn to disentangle what our true needs are from our strategies we’ve become glued to, we can see a much richer range of options. (Example: When we tell someone “I need you” this specific person is merely a strategy to meet our need for companionship and love, not the true need itself)


5) Requests. After we’ve gotten clear about needs vs. strategies, we realize we no longer need to be tied to specific strategies, and we can change Demands to Requests.  Requests are concrete and doable, and can be distinguished from Demands by how we respond when the answer is ‘No.’

Brief outlines of the essential components of NVC by Jim and Jori Manske can be found here:
I recommend the following pdf files: NVC Components; Four Choices on how to hear any message; Needs Wheel (based on Rosenberg, Spiral Dynamics, and Manfred Max-Neef), Feelings, and The 4 D’s of Disconnection.
The primary directive of NVC is to create life affirming connection.  Take a look at this chart on Empathy.

If you like Alan’s presentation above, he offers a FREE video training series, and I think you will really enjoy and find to be valuable. Check it out here:Free Videos from the Blackbelt Communication Skills Coaching Program


One comment on “How to Say Thank You During the Holidays

  1. permintic says:

    Brings me back to my PDC at One of the first workshops we did was NVC – amazing how it sticks with you over the years. Nice to have a reminder around the holidays. Thanks for posting this!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s