At the heart of Nonviolent Communication is the idea of Needs.
Words like ‘longing’, ‘desire’ and ‘wish’ point towards what is meant by the word "needs" in NVC, but needs are deeper than ‘wants’, ‘desires’, etc. Needs are a sort of ‘living energy’ – energy inside us that is alive and calls for us to take action in honour of that aliveness. They are at the core of our actions. Our core of needs is full of life, potential and energy.
Needs are universal and human. My needs are the same as your needs; needs like "joy", "love", "peace" and "safety", are common to us all. But my strategies may be different from your strategies. I might take a long walk, and you might be rocking out to Led Zeppelin -- and both of us could be meeting the same need, for space, peace and joy.
Needs exist independent of any person, place, action, time or thing. When I want something that is connected with a person, place, action, time or thing, that is a STRATEGY, different from a need.
There are 15,462,928 strategies for meeting each need. When we shift our focus to one another’s needs, rather than one another's strategies, we are far more likely to find common ground. Conflict occurs at the level of strategies, and not at the level of needs.
(Please note that all of the above is based on my understanding of Marshall Rosenberg's Nonviolent Communication.)
For more needs, check out: http://www.cnvc.org/Training/needs-inventory