A need is an essential component to promote well-being in our lives. Although these needs are not essential to your survival, they are essential to experience happiness. We can’t have a high level of well-being unless all these needs are being fulfilled. Take a few minutes to assess which of these are being met and which require attention.
1) The Need for Sustenance
Sustenance is whatever is required in order to sustain life on a physical level. Our fundamental basic needs for food, water, sleep, shelter are our primary needs to maintain the body. We are preoccupied with them until they are consistently met; then we can concern ourselves with the higher needs which are emotional, psychological, and spiritual.
2) Need for Rest, Relaxation, and Rejuvenation
Whenever there is an unfulfilled need, there is always a symptom that will illuminate it. They show up in the body, mood, or mind to point to the deficiency. Examples are lack of focus, irritability, fatigue, a sense of powerlessness, or apathy.
3) Need for Safety, Security, and Protection
The need for security has to do with having a sense of trust. It is built on inner confidence in our ability to meet life’s challenges and trust that others will provide support when needed. Safety is a function of having these internal and external conditions in place.
4) Need for Community and Connection
A community is a collection of people brought together through shared concerns, but not necessarily limited to a geographical area. People can live in different parts of the country and feel a part of a community if they share similar values. People who share a religious belief can feel a part of a national or even global affiliation with others who share the same views.
5) The Need Play
Most people see play as a luxury that children get to experience until they become “responsible adults.” Play does not conflict with being a responsible adult. In fact, it is the responsibility of an adult to see to it that his or her life has a sufficient amount. To allow ourselves to be play deprived is irresponsible. Play is a requirement for a healthy, balanced, and integrated life for people of all ages.
6) The Need for Autonomy
Self-trust is less about “doing what I want to do” and more a matter of accumulating wisdom from years of practicing self-awareness, self-reflection, and commitment to learning from life. Trusting ourselves doesn’t mean rejecting all outside opinions. It combines the openness of a child’s mind with the understanding of an adult’s wisdom.
7) The Need for Creative Expression
We are all uniquely individual beings. With creativity, we express that uniqueness, and that affirms our own value in ways that contribute to the quality of life to others. The act of sharing our gifts is inherently fulfilling. As we exercise this capacity, we affirm our own worth.
8) The need for Purpose and Meaning
We can survive without a sense of purpose in our lives, but we can’t experience fulfillment. The purpose is the inner compass that provides us with the sense that our time spent on the earth serves a greater end than the satisfaction of our personal desires. Purpose expands our identity from that of an insignificant entity whose existence doesn’t much matter to that of a valuable contributor to something far greater. When we experience purpose, we don’t just believe that what we do matters, but that who we are does.
9) The Need for Learning, Growth, and Challenge
Some people don’t even believe that adults are still supposed to be learning. They have the idea that learning goes on in childhood when going to school. They don’t have the concept of life long learning. Happy people continue learning throughout their lives. They welcome challenges because of the growth that comes with it.
10) The Need for Love: It is just as important to give love as to receive it.
Love is a universal need that is essential to our well-being and is the most important need of all. Love is not just a warm feeling towards another person. Receiving love is very important, but if you are focused only on receiving, we will not be fulfilled no matter how much love we get. This is because receiving love only partially fulfills the need for love. Giving love is the desire to enhance another’s well-being and care about their quality of life. We need both to fulfill the need for love.
Exercise: Which of these needs must you pay closer attention to in order to thrive?