According to human needs psychology, every single human being — no matter his or her nationality, race, religion (or lack thereof), gender, sexuality, culture, or socioeconomic status — shares six basic human needs.
Each of us has a need for some level of certainty, security, comfort, safety and stability in life. While one person may feel certain and secure living in a one-room shack with a small, dependable pension or support check coming in every month, another may not feel secure or certain unless he or she has at least $5 million in their bank account. Others may find certainty and comfort in knowing they are in a solid, long-lasting relationship, while still others are completely comfortable and secure as single individuals living and going about their life on their own. For many, the only certainty and security they have even known is life behind bars.
Ironically, the second human need is for uncertainty and variety, without which our lives would descend into a state of total boredom and stagnation. The ways in which we meet this need is as varied as there are people. It might be as simple as going to a movie we haven’t seen before or reading a book we’ve never read. It may be by causing ourselves to vary our emotional experiences in one way or another. Some people like to take risks or participate in dangerous activities or go on extreme adventures, while just taking a simple vacation to a new destination or checking out a new restaurant can satisfy the same need for others.
We all know someone who walks into a room and just seems to take over, whether anyone likes it or not. This person is meeting a great need for significance, whether or not he or she is consciously aware. Of course, meeting the need for significance is not a bad thing. The Dalai Lama, I’m sure, cannot help but feel significant, although I’m sure he would not acknowledge this as a great need on his part, and he is meeting it in a very positive way. Any politician running for office is certainly meeting his or her need for significance, whether or not they would admit it. A mom or dad watching their kid graduate from high school is certainly meeting their need for significance on some level, while at the same time a young punk in the ghetto certainly feels significant when we pulls a gun on someone. Like any need, the need for significance can be met in a huge variety of ways, either positively or negatively.
LOVE AND CONNECTION
I have no doubt there is not a person on earth who would not admit (if to no one but themselves) that they have a need for love and connection. This is one of the most basic of human needs. A baby, if never lovingly held or left to fend for itself will eventually die. The fact is, more of us are successful connecting than experiencing real love. Again, like all the others, this need can be met in many ways and plays a different role in each of our lives.
It’s a fact of nature that if we are not growing, we are dying. Period. Growth can include personal growth, physical growth and improvement, emotional or intellectual growth, spiritual growth, and so on.
We all have a need to some degree to know that we are contributing something of ourselves to something beyond ourselves. This may be our family or significant others, our community, our nation, or the world at large.
Each of us has at least two of these six needs
that play a particularly strong role in our life.
If a particular behavior or emotion helps us meet at least three of these needs at a high level, then that behavior or emotion will tend to become addictive. That addiction can be something positive (e.g., charitable work, taking care of others’ needs, mountain climbing) as well as something negative (e.g., drugs, alcohol, gambling, crime, abusive relationships).
Which of the six human needs serve as the
primary controlling forces in your life?
Renown psychologist and author Cloe Madanes has developed a simple Six Human Needs Test that is an excellent tool in helping discover how each of these human needs plays out and their order as driving forces in our life and relationships. To take the test and receive an immediate personalized analysis of your six human needs . . .
Here’s to better understanding ourselves and living a life of passion and fulfillment!
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