First, we observe what's actually happening in a situation: what are we observing others saying or doing that is either enriching or not enriching our life?
Next, we state how we feel when we observe this action: are we hurt, scared, joyful, amused, irritated?
And thirdly, we say what needs of ours are connected to the feelings we have identified
The fourth component addresses what we are wanting from the other person that would enrich our lives to make life more wonderful for us.
The concrete actions we observe that affect our well-being. How we feel in relation to what we observe. The needs, values, desires etc. that create our feelings. The concrete actions we request in order to enrich our lives.
Can I listen for the feeling and need behind each statement? I don't need to agree or disagree.
I can receive his words, not as attacks, but as gifts from a fellow human willing to share his soul and deeper vulnerabilities with me.
This process works like magic in counseling sessions as well as in real life when people practice it.