Human Needs – Healthy or Hindering?

What do you think of when you hear someone described as “needy?”

The basic physical needs – such as food, water & shelter – are obvious ones that we all recognize as common to all people.  How often, though, do we fail to recognize the psychological needs that we all share?

Is it possible that the label of “neediness” that some people use have caused us to ignore the reality that even healthy, well-adjusted people have basic needs?

Perhaps a proper understanding will allow us to have a healthier relationship with our own needs. And, possibly, eliminate some of “neediness” as well. 🙂

  1. Certainty/Comfort – We all want to be comfortable, and a great deal of comfort comes in having certainty. We want to know that our car will start and that the fridge will have food for us to eat. Having a certainty of these things eliminates stress.  Human interactions, however, provide far less certainty.An unhealthy relationship with this need will lead us to try to control our circumstances, or other people. The degree to which we lack internal certainty (faith, courage, confidence) will be related to how much we feel the need to control the external circumstances.
  2. Variety – The spice of life! We all need a little bit of adventure in our lives. Some find this through watching a movie that they haven’t seen yet, others find it through bunjee jumping. :)This need is in contrast to certainty, which reminds us that there is a balance that needs to be found. With too much certainty we get bored, but with too much variety fear or confusion can enter in.
  3. Significance – We all yearn to know that we are here for a purpose, that our lives are important.  This is a way that we can be unique… a sense of identity that makes us distinct from others.In a healthy sense, this need will lead us to self-discovery and an understanding our gifts & talents. Unhealthily, we can find ourselves trying to fill this need through egotism, drama addiction or materialism.
  4. Connection/Love – While our need for significance leads us to be separate from others, our need for connection with others – or love – is what draws us together.  We want to know that we belong, that we are cared for and  that we are understood.One of the most satisfying ways that we can fill this need is within family or intimate relationships. Others may seek to fill this need through clubs, social networking, religious groups or gangs.
  5. Growth – All things in nature are either growing or dying. Since there is no finish line, or standard that we reach to lets us know that we’ve “made it” and are now complete, we have a desire for growth and improvement. This can be through physical, spiritual, intellectual growth, etc.
  6. Contribution – The assurance that we have been a part of something bigger than ourselves is critical to our fulfillment, though it may be more apparent in some than others. Deep down, though, we all want to know that we leave a legacy, or make the world a better place by being here.

In what ways can understanding these needs provide you with more insight into the choices you make?

How can understanding these needs help you have more compassion in dealing with others?