We all have basic needs—not merely desires, but profound needs we seek to fulfill daily. These needs underlie and inspire every choice we make. They are universal within every individual. As humans, our strongest drive is our desire for fulfillment. We all share a need to experience a life of meaning and purpose.
Many people, unfortunately, meet their human needs through unhealthy and unsustainable habits, leading to feelings of frustration, anxiety, stress, and even depression. The key to profound and rapid change lies in our ability to recognize and manage these needs, as they are the motivation and driving force behind all our behaviors. The Six Human Needs provide a practical key for discovering one’s needs, behaviors, values, and beliefs and the vehicles we use to meet our needs. These needs assist in uncovering what prevents someone from being happy and fulfilled.
The Six Human Needs:
- CERTAINTY: The need to feel safe, comfortable, secure, stable, protected, and the need to have predictability in our lives.
- SIGNIFICANCE: The need to feel important, achievement, respect, special, needed, wanted, and unique in our lives.
- VARIETY/UNCERTAINTY: The need to feel different, challenged, risk, change, excitement, surprise, and entertained in our lives.
- CONNECTION/LOVE: The need to feel togetherness, passion, unity, warmth, desire, and love in our lives.
- GROWTH: The need to feel like we are developing, learning, strengthening, expanding, and cultivating ourselves.
- CONTRIBUTION: The need to feel like we are giving, donating, leaving our mark, serving, offering, and contributing to others.
The first four needs, Certainty, Significance, Connection/Love, and Variety/Uncertainty, are essential to human survival and must be met daily. The last two needs, Growth and Contribution, are the needs of the spirit, and not everyone finds a way to satisfy them, although they are necessary for lasting fulfillment in life.
SATISFYING OUR NEEDS
Everyone experiences the same Six Human Needs, but finds different ways to satisfy these needs. Each of these needs can be met in ways that are positive or negative; some ways of satisfying these needs are good for a person, good for others, and good for society as a whole, while other ways are bad for a person, bad for others, and bad for society as a whole. The key to helping someone change their behavior is to know which of these needs is most important to them and the vehicles they use to meet those needs. Any vehicle can become an addiction when it meets three or more of our Human Needs.
Going to school and obtaining a degree, which will ensure the possibility of making a good living, can meet the need for certainty. Holding rigidly to a dogma or a doctrine can also satisfy certainty. Being strict or overly protective with your children is another form of certainty.
The need for certainty can be met by stealing from others and hoarding money or material possessions. Holding onto an abusive relationship or drug habit can also satisfy certainty. This need can also be met by doing as little as possible and avoiding challenges.
Our search for meaning to life events is one way of fulfilling our need for significance. Another is by being the best athlete you can be or being the top student in your class. For some, significance comes from providing for their family. Others find significance in doing meaningful work. Some will need to make a major contribution to humanity to feel significant.
Some people will meet their need for significance by being the worst at something or by having low self-esteem. Others will meet this need for significance by being a bully or worse yet, pulling a gun on another person. Destroying things or tearing others down can also meet one’s need for significance.
Reading and exploring new subjects or topics of interest can meet our need for variety/uncertainty. This need propels us to take risks in life by trying new things such as new foods or traveling to new places.
Some will meet this need for variety/uncertainty by engaging in extramarital affairs. Those who do drugs to change how they feel or those who overeat are also meeting this need. Many people fulfill their need for variety/uncertainty by experiencing personal problems or indulging in drama with others.
Some will meet their need for connection by being very social, while others will feel just as connected or loved by being at home with their spouse. We can connect with others by being helpful, courteous and kind. We can fulfill our need for love and connection by just being with supportive and non-judgmental family members.
Our need for connection can be met by dominating others. We can also meet this need by having unmanageable problems in our lives for which we then receive attention from others. This can lead to habitual depression because we benefit from the attention of loved ones.
To be truly fulfilled in life, we must grow. Growth can be emotional, physical, and/or intellectual. You can grow by becoming a better person or by learning to accept what is different. You can also grow by working out, reading books, or taking classes. Some people need to constantly learn and expand their minds to feel that they are truly growing.
It is possible to fulfill your need for growth through negative means such as becoming a tyrant. Terrorists try to expand their agendas by committing inhuman acts. Science has created immense growth and progress for our world, though this progress also created the atomic bomb.
Contributing beyond oneself is essential to a sense of fulfillment and happiness in life. You can volunteer time or make a donation to a charitable organization. A parent contributes when they provide their children with a good education. Many people want to leave their mark on this world with good deeds or a legacy with their children.
Unfortunately, people can fulfill their need for contribution by destroying others. This sense of contribution tends to have a distorted intent. An example would be someone hurting a doctor who performs abortions. It can even be an employee who gets another employee fired because they just didn’t like them and now believe things are better off without them.
As with everything human, there are paradoxes in the experience of these needs. A person with a strong need for both Certainty and Uncertainty might constantly suffer an inner conflict as to which need is more important to satisfy.
The need for significance is often the opposite of the need for connection and love. It can be difficult to love someone who is constantly in need of feeling important. This is why many people who value significance over love will have problems in their relationships and often say they don’t feel truly loved.
WANT TO KNOW YOUR TOP NEEDS?
Take the Human Needs Questionnaire online today and receive a free professional analysis within three days.
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