(Based on the work of Robert Gonzalez)
Catch yourself in a judgmental thought and take a moment to reframe the thought separating yourself from that way of thinking by saying "I'm telling myself .......", or "I'm thinking....."
Example I'm telling myself that I'm not good enough. I'm thinking this other person just wants to fight. I'm convincing myself that this person has no respect for me.
With this separation comes the realization that our minds make assumptions that can keep us from connecting. It can keep us from really participating in what is objectively happening in the moment. We begin to recognize that our thinking can separate us from others and close us off to other possibilities. These thoughts are part of our core belief system. Our past experiences have formed these thoughts and we are capable of evolving past them when we are able to take a step back in the present moment and open ourselves to other possibilities. I think of this as moment by moment transformation.
Recognizing these thoughts can also help us connect with what values are most calling for our presence. For instance, "I'm convincing myself that this person has no respect for me", can be easily translated to, "I really value respect." Once this shift happens, we can hear or connect with the other person without needing automatic defense mechanisms to address our thought that may be unfounded.
If this makes you think of a time you responded defensively and are wishing you had used this strategy then, you might enjoy the next practice, self forgiveness, also known in NVC language as beneficial regret.
Below is the needs list to help with the step of recognizing the need your thoughts could be pointing towards.