“Quality is not an act, it is a habit.” – Aristotle
Needs are the universal requirements for life. They range from basic survival to wanting recognition. As adults, we are responsible for meeting our own intrinsic needs. They spur us on and usually invoke an emotional reaction when they are not being met. This week’s exercise is directed at increasing awareness of our needs and the ways in which they are driving us and being satisfied.
Abraham Maslow theorized that our basic needs must be met in 5 categories:
I. Physiological needs are required for human survival and are usually well met in developed societies. They are included here since – on occasion – they may require our attention, if we stretch ourselves too far or wish to establish healthier habits.
II. Safety or security needs are fundamental to our survival and may become paramount in an abusive or dangerous environment or a period of economic strife.
III. Needs for love and belonging are lifelong and given through affiliation and social connection. If they are not adequately met in childhood our ability to relate in adulthood can be impacted.
IV. Esteem needs stem from a drive for contribution.
V. Self actualization needs are motivated by our desire to grow and develop and make the most of our potential.
Examine the 25 need groupings in the table below (5 under each category).
Which ones do you acknowledge as being a priority for you right now?
|Safety / Security
|Communication Be heard
|Nourishment, Food and Water
|Homeostasis (intake and elimination)
Our needs are the basic drives that must be met to provide a full foundation for our creative expression. Many of us do not give them a second thought unless we suddenly find that they are not being adequately met and, then, we are often pulled up short. For example, we may not invest for a while in our health and then be confronted with prolonged illness. Or, we may neglect our personal relationships and then find ourselves without a supportive community in tough times. The questions below allow you to examine in detail whether you are meeting your needs adequately and what you can do to shore up your foundation and give you the best possible opportunity to step into your power.
In each case identify your needs or how you know that you care about yourself. Sometimes, clues as to our needs can emerge from your emotional response. If you are frequently not in a place of joy and peace there may be more that you can do to prioritize your own exquisite loving care. Another indication that a need is not being met is having a frequent craving for something.
1) What can you do right now in your life to be physiologically healthy (that is, well in your body)?
a. Consider aspects of your health and well-being that might be dis-empowering.
b. Describe consequences of investing in your physical condition.
c. Are you meeting your body’s basic requirements for well-being in your body? Things like, nutrition, hydration, sleep, exercise and relaxation.
d. How do you nurture your physiology alone or with others? This could be anything from exercise, to an activity or environment that you love, to rest, to hydration and food choices, to caring for your skin, hair, nails or teeth.
2) What can do right now in your life to be safe and secure?
a. Reflect on where you may feel at risk in your everyday situations. Are you making choices that protect you, keep you safe, and minimize risks associated with your roles and environments?
b. What are the consequences of not taking precautions?
c. How do your relationships contribute to your security?
d. How do you keep yourself safe and secure? Consider your car, house or yard maintenance, your emergency plan, your passwords and insurance, safe storage and risk taking habits.
3) What can you do right now in your life to be loved and cared for by your community?
a. What are the consequences of feeling supported and nurtured?
b. How do your close relationships provide deep connection and support?
c. How do you promote healthy interaction and fun with others?
d. How do others make you feel loved, cherished, valued, and cared for?
4) What can do right now in your life to be working to the best of your ability and accomplishing all that you can?
a. Which unfulfilled plans do you experience as undermining? In other words, what are the consequences of not getting it done?
b. How do your close friends and family respond to your achievements both when things go well and not so well? What feedback do you get spoken and unspoken?
c. What steps have you identified that you are dedicated to attaining or achieving in pursuit of your goals? How do these adapt as you progress?
d. How are you developing? What do you want to contribute? What do you wish to learn or take a step towards?
5) What can you do right now to more fully express who you are as an individual?
a. Where are you playing small in terms of your personal development?
b. What are the consequences of not investing in who you are?
c. How are you addressing your inner development and creative expression? What are you doing in the service of your spirit and self expression?
d. Who stands with you (without competing) affirming your potential and not your weaknesses?
The questions in this exercise reveal whether you support your ability to live fully by making sure all your needs are being met in such a way that you are empowered. When we neglect aspects of our health, safety, interpersonal connections, personal achievement, or inner understanding we find ourselves going in circles rather than making progress in a spiral. Taking a closer look at how we are doing in each of these areas supports us in making the small changes that allow for spiraling improvement. It is especially important to have a foundation of available energy, sustaining environment, and social support to take on internal and external challenges required to reach our goals.
If our needs are not met, we experience periods of dissatisfaction or even decline or stagnation until we take steps to correct what is lacking. Our values provide us with satisfying ways to meet our needs. For example, we need a certain level of exercise for healthy functioning. Taking account of our values supports us in deciding which recreational activities we select to meet these needs. If we value interaction we may select sports that involve teamwork or collaboration. If we value solitude we may select individual activities. Aligning activities to our values and needs provides intrinsic motivation so we are more likely to successfully develop and reach more of our potential over time.
Delving in to how well you maintain yourself benefits you by increasing your level of resource. The fitter you are all round (not just exercise strength) the easier it is to deal with challenge. You will also be able to give a higher performance. A rusty race car with poor quality fuel and an inattentive driver with no race crew or map will not perform as well as a shiny polished maintained car with the best fuel, a focused driver, a support network and a multidimensional map and that adjusts to feedback.