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Getting your six human emotional needs

Getting your six human emotional needs

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the six human needs and how they affect us, our experiences and our enjoyment of life.

First a quick update:

Spotting the emotional vampire”
Watch the TV interview I gave to Dave and Kristin of The Morning Show about emotional vampires and then read my newsletter and my answers to reader’s questions about “Dealing with emotional vampires” archived in my blog – June 10, 2009.

Now, let’s talk about the six human needs we all share.

I would like to begin by distinguishing needs from desires. A desire is a want, a wish, a longing, a yearning or a craving. A desire is not as critical as a need. I define need as necessity; a requirement or an urgent want or requisite.

We all share the most basic needs for survival; the physical needs of food, water and shelter. It can also be argued that love is a need for physical survival as I reveal in my book, “Soul Mates”:

 “In his book The Science of Love, Anthony Walsh defines love as “that which satisfies our need to receive and bestow affection and nurturing; to give and be given assurances of value, respect, acceptance and appreciation; and to feel secure in our unity with, and belonging to, a particular, family.”

He identifies three types of love – parental, social and romantic – and says that maternal love (or similar) is a prerequisite for survival.

Anthony cites studies involving children who suffered love deprivation and lack of physical contact. The results indicate that they were vulnerable to a host of diseases, that their intelligence was lower and that their rates of criminal behavior and mental illness were higher.

An impressive example of the power of love comes from the study of dwarfism as observed in the children of alcoholic and abusive parents. Anthony demonstrated with research that these children began to grow normally when placed in more loving environments.”

(Read also my Newsletter “What you really need” )

Love is one of the six human needs – emotional & spiritual needs. However, I refer to it as Love & Connection

1. Love & connection

We all understand the need to be loved, to have someone love and adore us but love and connection is also more than just romantic connection; it is about the sense of belonging and feeling connected versus feeling isolated, disconnected or alone. It’s about the ability and freedom to express love and the sense or feeling that we have acceptance and approval. It’s about feeling that we have a good relationship to everything and everyone around us.

Love and connection is also about the need for a sense of community – of belonging. And that need is so powerful that people will join gangs, religious cults, fanatical groups, sports or other groups and ‘tribes’ to have the need met. We also though, gain a sense of connection through nature. When we walk through a forest or gently climb a mountain, breathe in the fresh air or sit down and watch and listen to the waves and ocean, we feel a sense of connection; that we are joined and bound to everything around us and to something that feels more powerful than us which, in turn, also gives us a sense of safety and security.

2. Security

Security is about certainty and stability. Some of us make great sacrifices to feel that sense of security; some women marry a man whom they don’t love but know that he will be a good provider and that monetary security may also offer them emotional security. Some people stay in jobs and relationships for years simply because of the need for security and stability and for routine. Here security also refers to structure and an order of things.

3. Challenges

The paradox is that while we need security and certainty, we also need the opposite – ‘challenges’ which is about having adventures, variety and uncertainty. It is about a sense of reward coming from conquering a challenge or problem. The need for risk and challenge motivates people to become daredevils; to climb mountains or sail around the world such as Jessica Watson, the 16-year-old Australian who braved seven months of solitude sailing around the world and becoming the youngest person to sail around the globe solo, nonstop, and unassisted. For Jessica the uncertainty showed up in the form of raging storms, 40-foot waves, and seven knockdowns during her 23,000-nautical-mile journey.

Challenges and uncertainty can also inspire us to move house, change job or career or even take on a task that is so much grander than we are i.e. creating.

4. Significance

This is one of our most critical human emotional needs and it directly affects our overall self-esteem. I teach that self-esteem is basically how much do you like yourself – how significant do you feel and how capable do you feel?

Feeling you are significant relates to feelings of worthiness – are you important, valuable, special, unique or consequential? Do people notice you? Do people care? Do you feel that you have power; personal power or influence over others?

When we believe that we lack significance, feeling powerless or invisible, then we turn to extreme measures to be noticed, to feel powerful and meaningful and to standout. Some of us will paint our body with lots of tattoos, some will have more and more plastic surgery, others will strive to amass lots of money and others will use guns and violence.

I recall one client, Slivia, who was crying when she got a new job and she was told she had to cut off her dreadlock hair. Silvia didn’t care about the hairstyle; she cared about being noticed and feeling unique and special. “Everyone always called me the girl with the dreads and now I have nothing. Now I am a nobody” she told me. Silvia had never felt special as a child, often ignored by her mother and for the first time in her life, she had felt significant and unique via her dreadlock hair.

Young children from poor backgrounds, with little resources and little education will try to gain instant recognition, significance, status and power by brandishing a gun and turning to violence.

Our craving to become famous or to be on TV can often stem from the same need – the need to feel important, special or powerful.

5. Growth

Growth refers to more than simply conquering challenges or having variety in one’s life; it refers to personal growth – mental and emotional which may also come about via challenges. Growth refers to moving from one phase of life to another; developing our mind, body and our role or roles in life. Maturing from the phase of conquest to the phase of service; giving and contributing. 

6. Contribution

I have often mentioned that we experience life via four realms: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. The last category, ‘spiritual’ refers to giving back, service to others, making a difference. Unfortunately, today we have shifted our focus from helping others to “what can the world give to me?” and this has, in turn, created the vast array of problems and pain associated with our narcissistic culture – depression, loneliness, sadness, confusion, loss of direction, and a general malaise. I personally believe that empty feeling comes from feeling that we are not significant which also comes from feeling that we are not being useful, we are not helping i.e. we are useless.

The highly successful people realize that real fulfillment, a sense of meaning, purpose and significance comes from giving something back, helping ease someone else’s pain – even for a moment or helping someone smile or breathe a little easier today.

How can you help?

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & Clinical Hypnotherapist

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