This month we want to share with you the reminder that there are several aspects of your Being that should be addressed as frequently as needed to ensure you are living a well-rounded life. As Humans, we have many different needs and at times, it can be common draw to focus solely on a few areas and diminish our attention on others. Please let this article serve as a call-back for your attention to each important Need area.
What are My Five Important Human Needs?
Physiological needs are essential to our survival as humans. Our body relies on the fulfillment of these needs and if not met, our bodies can fail us, fully or partially, either way, inflicting suffering and pain. To treat ourselves well, we must first ensure we have our physiological needs met. Our Physiological Needs include:
How are you breathing today? Yesterday? This month so far? Check in on your breathing regularly. It has a language of its own and can help you identify if you are holding onto something.
Make sure to drink enough water throughout your day. If you haven’t drank enough today, pause reading this and go get yourself some.
Our bodies function off of vitamins and minerals and other nutrients found in the food we intake. Over-/processed foods can stuff our bodies with unnatural and, at times, harmful ingredients. Be mindful of what you allow yourself to enter into your body.
Throughout recovery and following addiction treatment, we can lose focus of this basic physiological need in our desire to thrive as much as we can as fast as we can. It’s important to remember that maintaining a proper sleep schedule and sleeping under appropriate conditions is important for our body AND our mind.
Let this serve as a reminder that it doesn’t matter what kind of clothes you wear to meet this need as long as it is met. Basic clothing to cover areas of your body appropriate for your and your surrounding’s personal preference are all that are needed.
I hope that you all find yourself with appropriate shelter in your life right now. I’d like to encourage you to take a look at what would be considered your “shelter”. Regardless of what it looks like, how are you taking are of it? Could you treat it better to make room for it to, in turn, treat you better?
This can be a motivator for some, if not many. While as humans we may have sexual desire and fulfillment as a motivator for ourselves at times, it’s important to consider how much or how little attention we are placing on this need. Do you need to allow yourself to experience more connection with others in this way or perhaps do you need to slow down and reevaluate your current life motivations?
Safety needs are important to allow for the lack of stress and presence of security in our lives. A lack of safety can lead to traumatic responses and memories that can affect our mental, physical, and emotional health. Our Safety Needs include:
Do you feel like you have personal security? This is related to your ability to be happy, to experience liberty, and to experience freedom. Do you feel as though you are free from cruel and unusual punishment? Consider these things today.
Feeling insecure is, unfortunately, a common emotion we experience from little children to our current state of adulthood. Feeling uneasy and feeling nervous, having anxiety, about what’s going to happen next is a painful place to be in. When we feel this way, we may feel vulnerable and we may wish to fight this vulnerability by shutting down. Examine your environment and spot out areas you feel are non-threatening and are supportive. Grow these areas.
This is important because while the best things in life are free, the next best things tend to cost money. How are you being supported today financially? If you have a job, how are you securing that you are doing the best you can at it while also balancing your other security needs? If you have financial support, how are to tending to those relationships in a transformative, not transactional, way?
Health and Well-Being
How well do you feel you are being taken care of in this area? Does your health feel secure? Do you have access to healthcare if needed and do you have access to mental health providers if you start to feel an increase in suffering? Be sure to create security around yourself so you can Ask For Help when you need it.
Love and Belonging Needs
Love and Belonging needs are up next after our physiology and our safety. We all need to feel a sense of belonging and Love. Our childhood could have been the first time in our lives where this was either established or was missing. Into adulthood, the neglect and loneliness that was developed over the years can manifest into a created internal and external environment that lacks love and belonging. Our Love and Belonging Needs include:
Who are your friends? What does your peer support system look like? Having a sense of belonging within a social group is essential, most of the time, to alleviating and combating the voices in our head that tell us we are alone in our own minds and worlds. Areas for social connections can be professional organizations, clubs, co-workers, housemates, whether large or small. If you find yourself without peers that you feel you belong to, observe and examine why this might be.
This may be physical or emotional intimacy. As friendship was mentioned above, let this section lend itself to romantic types of love. How open is your heart to another Being? What do you know about your ability to be intimate? How would you like it to be changed if you don’t feel satisfied in this area? Having intimacy in our lives gives us a reference point that another Human Being accepts us unconditionally, in all our forms, and holds a preference to have us intimately close to them and vice versa.
Family can mean numerous different things. Your family can include those who you are intimate with and it can include your friends. For here and now, let’s consider your nuclear family: your parents, your aunts/uncles, siblings, grandparents, ancestors. How connected are you to them? Can they be utilized as continued support in your continued addiction recovery? If yes, are you engaging with them enough? If not, what is standing in your way? And if distance has been determined as the best course of action for your recovery, be sure to check in with the first two Love and Belonging Needs and see if those can be improved if this area seems as a void presently.
Esteem needs are related to the Ego. While we all know that it’s essentially vital for our spiritual homeostasis to keep our ego in check, it is also important to check where your ego is being affected as it doesn’t ever fully go away. Our Esteem Needs include:
Are there people in your life that make you feel like you matter? That you are important and who recognize you for all that you truly are? You deserve to feel accepted and to feel valued for the Real You. When we don’t feel accepted or valued, we can begin to hold resentments or we can turn that feeling inward and can start to feel low self-worth which can lead to poor decisions as a last resort. Don’t give up on what you deserve and point out to others when they make you feel important and truly seen.
Self-respect is a major concept. Our self-respect entails how we feel about ourselves. Are you respecting yourself today? Are other respecting you as you would like them to? Take a moment to think about if all that you feel you can accomplish is being achieved and if you are respecting your internal needs overall. Explore your current relationships, your work environment, how you are taking care of yourself. It’s typically seen that we get as much respect from others and our environment as we give to ourselves.
Self-Actualization / Self-Transcendence Needs
Our final need is that of Self-Actualization and Self-Transcendence. While it is last on this list, I feel it is the most important in today’s society and for each of you. However, please remember that the four above mentioned needs should be met as well. Self-actualization is our ability to reach our full potential as a spiritual and human being. Self-transcendence refers to our ability to meet a higher goal outside of ourselves in an altruistic and spiritual way. Our Self-Actualization and Self-Transcendence Needs include:
Realization of Your Full Potential
What sets Good Heart apart from many other addiction treatment programs and, more so, what now separates YOU from many others, is the attention that has been placed on helping you find your ability to realize your full potential. The world and our own minds told us for far too long that we were lacking and were simply unable in many areas of our lives. What we hope you know now is that all of that is, in essence, bullshit. You are Great. And your potential is Great. May you continue to realize your full potential over and over and over again because you keep up with your mindful and purposeful process of getting to know your mind and therefore, your world.
Achievement of Your Full Potential
When a moment occurs and you find your potentiality, it is important to fuel that moment and guide yourself along with it to the benefit of others and yourself and your surroundings. Goodness is meant to be shared and as we know through the laws of Karma: what goes around, comes around. Your Ideal and Actual Self-expressing itself gives others permission to do the same.