There are really only 7 universal needs in life, so take a moment to ask yourself what you really need. What is most important to you?
Because of the many things presented to us, we can often confuse our needs with our wants. We see advertising on TV, social media and online and suddenly start to feel like we need things we’ve never thought about before.
Maybe we need to look a certain way, use a certain product or own a certain thing in order to be happy. Maybe we need constant excitement or adventure in order to feel fulfilled.
But is the ‘I’ll be happy when/if’ syndrome more about our disconnection from our self and our true needs?
A need is really a life serving motivation – something that genuinely enhances our health and wellbeing.
There are only 7 universal needs that all humans on earth share. These are motivations that urge us to move forward and to grow as people.
- When they’re not honoured, we can feel depressed, angry, bored or even apathetic towards the world.
- But when they are fulfilled, these needs can make us feel a zest for life. They make us feel peaceful and content, and ultimately, happy and free.
What are the 7 universal needs?
No man is an island. Every person on earth needs to feel a connection with at least one other person. Under the need for connection, you have a list of different social interactions such as a need to be accepted, to be recognised, to be loved, to feel safe with another person and so forth.
Connection is about intimacy, love, compassion, inclusion, community, affirmation and nurturing to name a few. Under this need is also the need to reciprocate these interactions in a mutual manner.
Overall, those who honour their need for connection feel that they’re loved and not alone. They’re also more likely to have stronger emotional resilience and coping abilities and healthy emotional wellbeing.
To me, meaning is the most significant of the 7 universal needs. Everyone finds meaning in their own unique ways and this can be done by expressing your creativity, learning new things, seeking new challenges, and giving back to society, among others.
When we find meaning in our lives, we feel like we have a goal or a purpose to fulfil. And oftentimes it’s our reason to wake up in the morning, to overcome obstacles and be in pursuit of what we believe is important in life.
Meaning creates that light-hearted spark and sense of fulfilment.
We need to find out what is true in our lives, and we form our personalities around these truths. There must be integrity in the things we do and in the things we experience.
Have you ever said ‘yes’ when you really wanted to say ‘no’ or vice versa? Honesty is integral to having trust in relationships. But we must first be honest with ourselves and acknowledge our true needs and then express those respectfully to others.
Our truth, whether we recognise it or not, is fundamental to us leading an authentic life. Authenticity leads to freedom, healthier relationships and good health.
Laughter, fun and joy come so naturally to us and we know how much children love to play and have fun. Genuine joy is not taught; it is felt. Even as we grow older, we still have the need to have fun. Although, we seem to forget this sometimes.
Have you ever met someone who has a freshness about them? If you think about it, it’s probably due to their childlike enthusiasm for life or their willingness to laugh and have fun. Play keeps us light and open-hearted and how many times have you read how beneficial laughter is to our health?!
Have a look at your calendar and see if you’ve got any good ‘play dates’ coming up. If not, contact a friend and plan a fun outing.
Hands up if you like being told what to do or how to live your life?
Thought not! We are all gifted with the consciousness to choose.
And even for those who feel like they’re under the control of another person or an institution or system, their freedom to choose what they think and what they want to feel cannot be taken away from them. Nelson Mandela is a good example. (I acknowledge that this is a more difficult path and does need to be taught and practiced.)
Along with autonomy, we also have a need for spontaneity and independence, to stand on our own two feet without interference from others. Our need for autonomy helps us to form our personal boundaries and personal space.
Despite how busy the modern world is, everybody and also every body needs time to wind down. It’s important for our wellbeing.
Our need for peace also includes:
- The desire for privacy and respect for our personal space.
- A need for beauty, balance, ease, equality, inspiration and harmony – which must be developed and appreciated within ourselves.
- A need for order amidst the chaos of what’s going on around us. A person whose mind and environment are both chaotic can become confused, lost and even overwhelmed.
Take some moments to breathe slow, deep healing breaths and visualise yourself in a peaceful setting with the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touch that you find relaxing and soothing. Bring more peace into your day through breath and imagination.
7. Physical Well-Being
Even if our minds and hearts have been nourished by the above needs, we also need to take care of our physical bodies. We take care of our bodies through healthy food, shelter, water, sunlight, exercise and clean air.
It is also important to give our bodies enough rest, relaxation and sleep to regenerate and function well.
Along with these needs we also have a need for sexual expression and touch.
Finally, even if you are aware of your needs and perhaps which ones are not being met, I’ve observed that our beliefs around our self-worth, lovability and deserving can impact on whether we acknowledge our needs, express our needs and make them a priority.
I invite you to make the following statements out loud to yourself and observe the sensations you feel in your body and the thoughts that pop into your mind:
“My needs are important.
My needs matter.
I honour my needs.
I express my needs.
Infinite love & gratitude.”
What small action step can you take today to help meet your needs?
We do all have these 7 universal needs. Are you honouring yours?
* I would like to acknowledge the Centre for Non-Violent Communication, B Belgrave and M. O’ Naire and Dr Marshall Rosenberg for their research into these universal life serving motivations.