“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul.” – John Muir
Hello spiritual warriors!!! And welcome to a new week of Life Tools!! This week, we explore meeting our needs. Since one of the most popular definitions of stress is how you respond when your needs are not met, if we can figure out more effective ways to meet our needs, we will have less stress.
Just putting some attention on these life tools will quickly make a difference in how we feel in each moment and ultimately how we feel about our life in general. In-the-moment tools that I have shared such as 16seconds will quickly shift your stress response. But it’s the deeper work –specifically, the mastery of our needs- that shifts us internally so we have fewer unmet needs. Fewer unmet needs = less stress, which applies directly to our interpretation of life and our perception of stress.
What Are My Needs?
Each of the eight billion people on the planet have eight billion unique interpretations of life, eight billion unique combinations of needs & desires, and eight billion unique expressions of reality through our thoughts, words, and actions. Yet, with all that uniqueness and individuality, all eight billion of us seem to share the same basic categories of needs.
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In the 1940’s, the American psychologist Abraham Maslow wrote A Theory of Human Motivation, in which he outlined five universal categories of human needs that all individuals possess – a set of motivation systems unrelated to rewards. These basic needs are said to motivate people toward fulfillment when they are unmet. And the longer they are denied, the more we are motivated. (For example, the longer we go without water, the thirstier we get!)
He prioritized the various categories of universal needs based on the importance each of us organically places on fulfilling them. And, that our lower order needs must be fulfilled before higher order needs can be realized.
Envision a pyramid with five levels. At the base of our needs “pyramid” are our survival needs – what we need to stay alive. These are our basic physiological needs of breathing, drinking, eating, sleeping, peeing, pooping, and having sex. Once we meet those basic biological needs, we can aspire to meeting the next set of needs in the pyramid – our safety needs. We need to be able to have a roof over our head to protect us from the elements; we need to know we can go to work without being shot at; we need to feel that our possessions are safe; and that we are protected by some social codes or laws.
The next level is our social needs, which include belongingness, love, our relationships, and all that comes with that, essentially the needs of our heart – attention, affection, appreciation, and acceptance. Once this core group of needs are met, we can move on to a more evolutionary grouping of needs known as our esteem needs, which include personal self-esteem, status, titles, prestige, positions, achievement, managerial responsibility – even mastery of our chosen field. And lastly, once these four sets of needs are met – survival, safety, social, and esteem – we are primed for the fifth and final stage in the hierarchy – self-actualization.
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Meeting our needs
All the levels of needs are interrelated rather than sharply separated, which means we can work at fulfilling multiple levels of our needs simultaneously. So this week, pick an unmet need of yours, and place your attention on fulfilling it. Start small – remember bean by bean the bag gets filled! And please let me know how meeting your need is easing your stress and what it has empowered you to do. Keep meditating and your needs will unfold with greater clarity and join me this week on Hay House Radio and we’ll take it deeper.
In the meantime, I’ll see you in the gap!! Peace. -davidji