First of all, let me just say that there are six basic psychological needs that every human being MUST have. I'm not saying that we as humans WANT them, I'm saying that we NEED them.And though there are six, only the last two (5 and 6 ) give us life-long happiness and full-fillment. Also, only the last two can be obtained in a positive manner. I'll go through them briefly.
Before I start I need to say that these discoveries are not mine. They come to you courtesy of Anthony Robbins. However, I'm not quite sure where he learned them. Anyway, they are as follows:
1. CERTAINTY. We all have a need to have reliability when it comes to a lot of areas in our lives. For instance, its usually pretty hard to concentrate on your job or other day to day rituals if you have certain things in your life that you're suddenly uncertain of, like whether or not your car will start, or whether of not the person you love is going to be there when you get home. Anytime we feel uncertain about things in our lives that usually stay the same and that we've come to rely on, we feel a sense of panic and worry. There are those things in our lives that we MUST feel certain about , whether it be in our relationships, our job, our finances, or our future. Without a base feeling of certainty, we will feel a constant feeling of unease until that certainty comes back or we find another way to get certainty in that area of our lives. This need is also known as comfort, comfort zone, or assurance.
2. UNCERTAINTY. I know... this appears to be in direct contradiction to the first psychological need which is certainty. However, the truth is, we need uncertainty also (it appears that God really does have a sense of humor). This uncertainty is that feeling of variety that we crave during so many times in our lives. Why do you think so many people get into sports or watch movies. All human beings feel the need for a level of uncertainty in their lives. Let me ask you a question: Have you ever been in a relationship that seemed to be perfect in every way? You know, that person was courteous, respectable, generous, kind and seemed to meet your needs whenever you needed them met? Don't you remember having an uneasy feeling at times, almost as if you wanted a fight to happen or something to give you a little drama? Why is that? Didn't the relationship appear to be going your way? The reason you felt that unease is because of your need for uncertainty (or variety). Sometimes we don't know how to meet our need for uncertainty and so we try to get itin some pretty neagative ways, such as leaving the person we're with only to find out that now we need the feeling of CERTAINTY back in our lives. We have to make sure that these two needs are balanced correctly or we'll spend the rest of our lives trying to balance them and never truly being happy.
3. SIGNIFICANCE. This need is the reason every single conflict between human beings happens. Our need for significance is so strong that we will kill another man or woman just to quench that need. Think about it. If someone is disrespectful to you, do they REALLY hurt you? The answer is, that in reality, you were never physically harmed by their comment or attitude. However, they robbed you of your sense of significance. Their words or actions pretty much said, "You're not all that important, and you don't mean much." Words like these or attitudes that reflect these kinds of words take away are feeling of self-worth (significance), and so we try to get that feeling back through a verbal exchange or even a physical one. People find all kinds of ways to meet this need, whether it be buying something impressive like a new outfit or new rims for their car, or even practicing a religion and trying to let others know how dedicated they are. Another word for this need is uniqueness; or a need to stand out. Some people only want to be significant with the people they really care about, while others want to stand out from the entire world. Either way, we all have this need.
4. LOVE and CONNECTION. There are people who will say that they have no need or desire to have love or connection in their life, but they are only trying to convince themselves as well as other people of this erroneous fallicy (once again, to appear to not have a need for love and connection helps them to meet their need for significance by making others believe they stronger and more independent than most). The fact is, humans have to have social contact. They also have to feel as though they belong somewhere and that they are accepted by their peers. The newspapers are filled with stories of people who have done some pretty insane and irrational acts simply because their need for love and connection was either being taken or they were trying to fill it in the first place. Unfortunately, a lot of times by full-filling this need we lose our sense of uniqueness (significance). This is a psychological battle that goes on in many people's lives within themselves. They'll finally achieve that level of love and connection but then they begin to feel as though they are losing THEIR identity and so they pull back from the relationship. One of the reasons that gangs are becoming more and more prevalent is because the gang meets the need for love and connection (and certainty) in a young boy's life that is missing. The gang that he associates himself with gives him a sense of belonging. Remember, you must balance this need with the need for significance or else you'll never be truly satisfied.
5. GROWTH. This is a need that few people meet but is absolutely essential for true happiness and full-fillment. The unfortunate fact is that very few people realize this. As a society, we try to meet our need for satisfaction in all sorts of senseless ways. But if people will only understand that true satisfaction comes from finding something that we're truly passionate about and that constantly causes us to reach for a new level of growth, then they would stop searching for things that only full-fill them temporarily. The great thing about this need is that it can only be met in a positive way, whereas the other four psychological needs can be met in a negative way if we choose that route.
6. CONTRIBUTION BEYOND YOURSELF. Remember this: PEOPLE WILL DO MORE FOR OTHERS THEY TRULY CARE ABOUT THEN THEY EVER WILL FOR THEMSELVES. What this means is that we all have this thing inside of us that makes us feel certain, uncertain, significant, loved and connected, and a constant feeling of growth as long as we are giving to others and expecting nothing in return. The fact is, humans are basically good and we seem to really get a sense of well-being when we are giving to others whether it be in the form of our time, money, service, or gifts. Once again, this is a need that can only be achieved in a positive manner.
Well, there you are. Those are the six psychological needs of every human being. The question now is: how can we USE this? Well, you have to understand that we are always trying to meet these needs even at a sub-conscious level. By noticing when you're trying to meet the first four needs and asking yourself, "How can I meet these needs in a more positive manner," you can shy away from the negative behavior that you've been repeating.
Albert Ellis states that emotion and rational thought cannot exist in the same place at the same time. That means that you cannot behave in an irrational manner if at the same time you are trying to think about your situation rationally. As long as you are always trying to meet these needs, why not meet them in away that is going to serve you. Also, you MUST find something that will cause you to constantly grow and something that will allow you to contribute even if it's only to those you love and care about. This is the key to ultimate happiness and full-fillment.
At the beginning of this page I mentioned a friend of mine having an issue with her ex-boyfriend. It seems that, although he behaved in an uncaring manner and treated her very unfairly more than once, he called her after a few weeks and pleaded with her to take him back. I couldn't help but notice that he was desprerately trying to meet two of the psychological needs: his need for certainty (which he had when she was with him), and his need for love and connection. Like I said, we will ALWAYS strive to meet these needs, especially when we feel as if they are no longer being met. So, in what ways are YOU trying to meet these needs.
Until next time. take care.
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