Living the Seven Principles

There are seven principles which Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote. Compassionate Communication, also known as Nonviolent Communication or NVC, is a spiritual practice ideally suited to living these principles every day.


All human beings share the same universal needs, and everyone’s needs matter equally. When I trust that my needs matter, and also hold the needs of others as precious, I enter a way of being centered on the worth and dignity of every person.

Every human action is an attempt to satisfy our shared human needs. Justice, equity and compassion become manifest when I view every action I take, and the actions of others, as fundamentally innocent attempts to meet these precious needs.

All human beings change and evolve, as do our actions, which are strategies to meet needs. Paying attention to my feelings and needs, I realize the dynamic fluidity of my changing strategies and develop acceptance of myself and others, just where we are. Genuine acceptance, free from judgment and the need to “fix” the situation, becomes fertile ground for authentic, intrinsically motivated spiritual growth and development.

Self-connection and personal responsibility form the ground of this search. When I cultivate self-connection, I realize that while I have no control over the outer circumstances of my life, I do have choice about how to respond to them. This empowers me to take responsibility for the quality of my experience, seeking truth and making meaning free from habitual patterns of judgment, blame and reliance on external resources and authorities.

All human beings share the ability to practice choice in all situations. When I make choices grounded in the awareness of my own needs and those of others, I cultivate my own personal power and conscience. Trusting in my own power and conscience with needs awareness enables me to navigate systems of authority with respect for the people in positions of power, without fear of this power. This trust in my own capability fuels my participation in democratic processes with authenticity and presence.

Viewing life through the lens of abundance, the earth offers enough resources to meet everyone’s basic needs. Unitarian Universalists share a vision of a world where all people meet their needs and resolve their conflicts peacefully. In this vision, needs awareness and trust in the abundance of life potently sustains and empowers those who long to create and participate in worldwide networks of life-serving systems in economics, education,health care, justice and peace-keeping.

Human needs are satisfied through interdependent relationships, so if others in the world have unsatisfied needs, it follows necessarily that one or more needs of mine are not satisfied.The language and practice of needs awareness provides me with relationship skills for the human family, tools for me to engage my power to build bridges of connection and understanding with others.