The Six Human Needs

We are human and we all have certain needs and try to fulfill them. We all share this and are motivated by them. But in what way are we being motivated. In what way are we behaving? How are we meeting our own needs and those of others?  Let’s take a short while to reflect upon something important. The six human needs.  These needs ideally are met in a positive way allowing for growth, sometimes part of consistent behavioral patterns that work and at worst in negative ways which are destructive, or in a neutral way, which can be a combination of the negative and positive parts of the mind and will be discussed below.

Love / Connection-

Belongingness. Whilst we keep our own identity, in merging or connecting intimately with a significant other, we can feel a sense of losing part of ourselves to them, and them to us. I and you exist but when connected, that interaction becomes we.  A feeling of belonging consists of feelings of resonance and recognition, safety and trust, communication and mutual understanding.  Interaction and communication allow mutual understanding and if they aren’t present, can result in feelings of depression or angst.   From ancient days, this feeling was recognized as love. Love needs to include respect and rapport built upon elements that are right for the partners involved.    To love and be loved isn’t a fanciful illusion, foundations form upon which it is formed and built.  Within relationships and friendships, there are certain things which need to be honored and agreed upon between interactions, for growth to be possible. 

Being within a community and sharing is broader sense of Connection and these days with so much divisions being created, I would say it has a very important place.  If the relationships are growing healthily and you aren’t being manipulated onto a track that is not true to you, the connections should work in a beneficial way to all.  Some negatives might include peer-pressure into being part of a scene that isn’t really resonating for you but at the same time giving you a sense of belonging while at the same time eroding your identity. We can meet our needs for connection through attending church or other community gatherings for instance and relating to people and feeling connected to the community, wherein we are recognized and given significance.  Sometimes, we might not be ready for intimate relationships / Love because at certain points in time, because of painful experiences relating to Love itself or grief need to be healed.

Certainty-

Maslow said we needed physiological needs to be met for certainty, while Tony Robbins view is that certainty allowed us a feeling of having control by being given certainty.   That sense of control and position of being able to change things to our positive advantage ties in with the physiological needs on the basis that we feel safe.

We all need to feel certain on some levels of some things.  On the basic level, our survival depends upon certain needs being met.  Psychologist Abraham Maslow demonstrated the hierarchy of human needs depicted by the famous pyramid.  Physiological needs being the foundation of the pyramid and consisting of food, water, shelter and safety and these needs being met provide the security and well-being for a person to build upon.  If any of these needs were unmet then it follows that anxiety or stress would appear. Certainty is involved within this basic level and continues into other levels that include our interactions and relationships with one and other. We all have a need for certainty from those we interact with. Friends, family and intimate relationships. 

Having certainty within our relationships gives us also a sense of safety and security. Trust, consistency, stability within the character of a person are important elements in close relationships and connect with the sense of safety already mentioned, but appearing on a different level of Maslow’s pyramid. Certainty demands the need to understand, to know things, and via communication we can understand each other and help each other to make sense of the world that we inhabit.  In a relationship it may form within the financial agreements and inputs from both partners, making sure that the bills are being paid, that roles are being shared in a way that puts too much pressure on neither one.

Certainty can also be gained from some negative habits such as compulsive or addictive behavior such as smoking, drinking, gambling or comfort eating.  These behaviors work short-term giving instant gratification, but they can divert away from what we truly need.

Uncertainty-

Uncertainty might sound bad but it matters in terms of dynamics in cultivating certainty and if everything was always so certain, perhaps our relationships would reach a point of stagnancy. It depends upon what the uncertainty consists of and how it affects us.  Uncertainty may leave us in a place where we feel we are being misunderstood. Communication can misfire, and that need not necessarily be a negative thing. It can propel us forth for clearer communication.

Tony Robbins in his talk of the six human needs talked of the beauty of uncertainty and highlights how little control we have over someone else’s heart.  This is so important to realize because we have a choice. To accept and enjoy our relationships or to sink into a fear-driven state and shy away from the challenges that exist. There are no guarantees, and although our survival depends on certainty and our subconscious drive may fight to get it, on a higher level of ourselves, we can enter a place of love and when we transcend those lower drives, we can conquer our own angst and fear becoming accepting and if we cultivate this practice, we can learn to accept people the way they are or indeed leave room for changing dynamics within another. But a significant other other no matter how important to us must reach their own realization.  We cannot do the inner work for them but we can at times light little candles to shed light on what we think might help them.

Do we know all of ourselves and how we operate and behave? In others, there will always exist deeper levels which may be beautiful in terms of intriguing us. We may see glimpses and those glimpses may allow us to recognize something. The opaqueness of ourselves as complex beings always leaves room for fascination and some uncertainty.

There are uncertainties that are amazing like a surprise birthday party or vacation away together. Not everyone likes uncertainty and it’s based on individual attraction. Like attracts like, or opposites attract?  Maybe your partner is way more spontaneous than you.   Sometimes you decline but some of his or her ideas are so appealing that it makes for fun-filled times and a different outlook than plain old you know what you’re doing when you’re doing it all the time.

Significance-

Within relationships with others we need some level of significance.  Through recognition comes validation.  And we all need to feel validated in some ways if we are engaging with others and giving and receiving.  Again, we want some level of certainty, whether that is the next time we see each other or having a relationship status, we seek to know our position within our relationships, in order to meet some level of our own agreement, and feel contented within.

Some we look for and pursue, some we might not want to hear at all that leave us disappointed like clear signs of lack of commitment. On some extremes, some people may act up or act out in negative ways.  And those negative ways, could result in abusive situations. Someone who feels a need to gain more significance in the eyes of another may become stressed, and depending on the individual, may distance or become aggressive in pursuit of what they need that they might not consciously be aware of.

To be significant is to feel important to those who are important to you.  It doesn’t always come through words but by actions.  If your friend or significant other tells you how important you are to them, this can brighten your day, but there are ways of showing it too.  These can range from being told to sit down and relax for the night when you were just about to get to making dinner or being listened to when you are having a hard day and just need to let off steam, or having a nice steamy bubble bath prepared by your significant other.  Caring about someone deeply is making them significant.

Significance does not always have to come from a relationship or partner, the need for significance can come from many places depending on the person and their personality. A volunteer firefighter, a church goer or being a good friend or listener can meet this need and others at the same time.

Next, we will talk about some of the higher needs; growth and contribution.  They can be seen perhaps as self-actualization or spiritual and optional to the individual’s personal orientation in terms of human needs.

Growth-

We can grow from our own understanding, experience and knowledge and we can also help others to grow and them us, if we are open-minded, communicative and take the time to both talk and listen. Growth however is a process and we can grow while not being conscious of it, we will consciously recognize how we have and do change at certain points in time.

Some ways to grow inwardly might include creative pursuits, reading, meditating, going into nature.  To transcend our lower drives, we need to aspire to the higher ones. Connecting our feelings with our spirituality and finding our passion and recognition in things like music, art, literature. Whatever is attractive to the individual.

Contribution-

What do you want to leave the world?  This is about giving, helping, being in service to others. How do you want to be remembered?  What makes you want to help others?  In helping others, in loving others, we are extending beyond our own selves helping another achieve and grow.  This contribution can exist in terms of the financial, feeling, emotional support, care-giving, or as simple as sitting down with a stranger, engaging in a conversation and being present.  Time can be said to be one of the most precious things we have, and giving a little of that can sometimes be giving a whole lot to someone else.  We all can go through difficult circumstances in life and if we have passed through our own, realizing how it affected us and made us grow, we can empathize more with our fellow beings and help them if it agrees with their understanding of the world.  In giving and expecting nothing in return is an act of love. And an act that can potentially make the world a better place for all.

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