8 Basic Human Emotional Needs

emotional needs
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Those needs or conditions that need to be fulfilled for an individual to feel fulfilled, happy, or at ease are emotional needs. When these needs are not fulfilled, one might feel dissatisfied, hurt, or frustrated.

While every human being has these needs in common, the strength of each need to be fulfilled is different for different individuals. Individuals who have these emotional needs fulfilled have a healthy behavior following the fulfillment, and similarly, individuals might show unhealthy or socially unacceptable behaviors if these needs are not met.

Abraham Maslow, a humanistic psychologist who gave us the hierarchy of needs, states that emotional needs are primary physical needs. In his theory of need hierarchy, he talks about how needs at the lower level should be met, and then only can the upper order needs be fulfilled.

For an individual on his journey toward achieving his fullest potential or becoming a self-actualized person, their basic needs should be fulfilled first. After one’s physiological needs, that is, food and water, and their safety needs, that is, having a shelter and source of employment, one moves towards fulfilling their emotional needs or the need for love and belongingness.

You might be having questions like, “What are the basic human emotional needs?” and “How do I meet my emotional needs on my own?” so let’s find the answer.

Basic Emotional Needs

A human being is a social animal. So it does not only has physical needs, but also certain emotional needs that are basic to every human being, and their satiation is important.

The basic emotional needs are:

1. Security 

If we always live on alert mode, looking for undue dangers in our surroundings, we can never live peacefully. Hence one of the very first emotional needs that need to be met is security. We should have physical as well as emotional security. Physical security means an environment where we know that we are safe and secure and do not have to worry about being physically hurt or damaged.

Emotional security means having a sense of belongingness; basically, it means to love and be loved by your loved ones. It means having the assurance that your loved one will not leave you, or that your family and friends will stand by you in need.

Having a safe place can help an individual develop to their fullest potential. If you feel that this emotional need is not being met, try to make a list of factors that give you a sense of fear in that particular surrounding, and then think of actions you can take to change or remove those factors.

You must have seen people always stressing about little things, always getting anxious over certain normal factors. This happens with them because they feel vulnerable and they are not feeling safe. Having the sense, the emotion of security helps us in calming our minds and helps us be happier and stress-free.

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2. Privacy

Privacy means a person’s personal space and his mind’s information private information that he wants to keep to himself only. Not having the feeling of privacy means feeling exposed. Privacy can be confused with security. Security is about being safe whereas privacy is about having its own space ad being private.

Privacy is one of the emotional needs that should be met because it leads to the individual’s well-being. An individual should have enough time and space to themselves so that they can reflect on their experiences and learn something from them.

Individuals who are introverts, highly sensitive to overstimulation, and empaths need a little more privacy than others because they value their ‘me time’ and need it necessarily.

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Photo by Thomas Lefebvre on Unsplash

If you feel that you had no privacy on any day, you can meditate, try journaling or have some self-care or self-pampering time, and in this time, you can enjoy yourself and use the time to reflect upon your day.

They have that me-time or private time you can tale long baths or can go on a walk alone. You can sit at a park or on the terrace of your house in a bloomy environment. This thing will let you time to think for yourself, think about your life and your matters.

3. Attention

One of the most prominent emotional needs is this attention. People always want to get acknowledged by other people.

People always want to have other people’s attention. People are always seeking adoration and consolation from other people. But this attention can be called materialistic attention needs. The real attention need is the attention from the people we care about; from people we look up to, from people who are closest to us.

Attention is yet again one of those emotional needs that are basic for survival. Giving attention to our near and dear ones and receiving the same from them makes one feel valued and cared for. It is important to give attention to others, and an individual must give enough attention to self-actualization because one can cater to their needs only if they pay attention to them.

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Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Giving attention to others can be in the form of checking up on them every once in a while or doing something that leaves them feeling loved, and when someone does the same for you, you should appreciate and acknowledge their efforts. If you feel that this emotional need of yours is not being met, try to spend some time with yourself first and then schedule an outing to meet with your near and dear ones.

4. Community Connection

Us humans are social animals, unlike other animals. And we live in the society. The difference between society and community is that society is formed via interaction between people and community is formed by the people with the same interests and ideology.

A human needs to belong to some community because he wants to be with the people, and interact with people who have similar mindsets, interests, and ideologies.

Among the list of emotional needs, this means that one should have a sense of connection with the community they live in and a feeling to do something above self and work towards a greater cause, something good. Humans are social beings, and they need to have a sense of connection to something greater than themselves.

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Photo by Darrel Und from Pexels

Having a sense of connection with your community can also lead to developing a sense of goodwill and kindness.

If you feel you lack this connection with your community, you can develop it by doing some philanthropic work like donating to charity or volunteering work. One can always connect with the community by helping the underprivileged using the resources and time they have. You also can form a community of yourself.

As this is the age of the internet and we have many chat and community apps like WhatsApp groups and telegram groups where you can invite people with similar interests to you. There is this app called discord. It is one of the best apps to form a community online as it has all the features that can help you to make the virtual community almost real.

5. Sense of Achievement 

It’s your 60th birthday, your children are wishing you a happy birthday, and you are living in a rented 3 bedroom apartment. And you are now thinking about what you have done in your lifetime.

You feel you have not achieved anything in your life. And that regret hurts the most. Although everyone’s life goals and desires are different when a man hasn’t achieved something significant that gives him mind’s peace. It keeps stinging.

This is one of the emotional needs without which life will feel aimless. To feel worthy or to maintain self-esteem, one should feel that they are working towards something of value, and completion of it is an achievement.

We as humans have the ability to analyze, criticize, imagine and create. When we fail to achieve our set goal or target, we start to criticize ourselves and feel worthless at the extreme and vice versa

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Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

A consequence of this situation would be a loss of motivation and a feeling of frustration. On such days where you lack this sense, you should write down every achievement of yours, everything you’ve accomplished to date, and maybe look at the degrees, certificates, and medals you own to remind yourself what you are capable of.

6. Sense of Self 

No one in this world wants to be average and mediocre. Everyone wants to be unique, everyone wants to stand out. everyone wants to have their own values, their own view. To have their own judgment.

If a person completely relies on another person for everything. he doesn’t have his own self. he is doing what he has been told, what he thinking what other thinks, and he agrees with the other person without using his own mind and thinking. This is the person who has lost his own self. And no one wants to lose himself.

In the list of emotional needs, this one holds importance too. A sense of self means having our own perspective, thoughts, values, and judgments. It basically means to retain our individuality amongst a group of people. One should feel that they belong to a group or a community, but they should always stand firm on their values within that group.

Just for the sake of pleasing someone, one should never change their opinion or should agree to something that is against their belief because, in the long term, it is our values and beliefs that will stay with us. When you feel that this need is not being met, you should do something that sets you apart.

To have or regain the sense of self you can try doing what you want to do or what your mind says before the arguments of your head. Doing something of your choice without anyone else’s interference. You make decisions on your values and beliefs and not on the other person’s values. Continuing might get you in some trouble but it will surely help you to regain your sense of self.

7. Volition

Volition means power over your own life and decisions about your way of living. There can be a number of factors that can affect one person’s decision. There can be a number of people who can try to control one’s life.

Mostly this happens with parents and their children. Parents control their children’s life to protect them from the outer world but on the other side, children want volition. They want to have control over their lives. they want to make their own life decisions. It can happen in a professional relationship too. Boss may try to control the employee’s life to get better results for the firm or company.

Volition means that an individual has the power to decide the way he or she lives. We humans live with a power struggle, and if one does not have the power to decide the direction of their life, it might disturb one’s mental health.

We strive to exist autonomously and to drive our own lives. This need should be met for you to feel fulfilled. If you feel this need is not being fulfilled, you should try to have assertiveness while conversing with friends, family, or coworkers who make you powerless and try to establish clear and healthy boundaries.

8. Meaning

You must have heard the phrase “what is the meaning of all this”. And if you ask this question to yourself regarding all the actions of your till now you might get what emotion we are talking about.

If a person, let’s say is 50 years old, who has seen life’s ups and downs? Who has been through all of that? He was doing it because it seemed right to do at that time. HE kept doing it. And today he is 50 years old and he doesn’t know what he was doing all this all along. He doesn’t have a greater goal, a life goal He did not have a greater purpose. So now he feels his 50 years of life have no meaning.

An individual should have a core set of beliefs that guides his or her life throughout. The sense of achieving things might feel in vain if one doesn’t have a greater purpose. All individuals should have a sense that they belong to something greater, something that is above them.

We should have a coherent set of beliefs about what life is all about. To put in very simple words, you should have the answer to “what’s my purpose in life” or “why am I here.” If you question your existence, then start practicing mindfulness. The simplest you can do at that point is focus on your breath and think that everything happens for a reason, and if you’re breathing, it is for a reason.

These emotional needs are very important, but if given more attention than needed, they can be harmful. It might so happen because if one starts to focus too much on fulfilling their emotional needs, they might become self-obsessed or might develop narcissistic tendencies.

Narcissistic tendencies include having an exaggerated sense of self, having a sense of entitlement, thinking that they are superior to the rest, having a feeling of envy for others, or even requiring constant admiration for self. It also might so happen that these emotional needs become similar to maintenance addiction, upon whose withdrawal discomfort might be caused and no stimulation of the brain’s reward center when gratified.

Click here to know about spiritual meditation.

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Icy Health
Our content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. We pride ourselves on our high-quality content and strive towards offering expertise while being authoritative. Our reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students. -----------------------------------

Any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.


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