Got needs? We all have needs. None of us can reject the universal truth and undeniable fact that needs are part of our existence. Some of the more common and recognizable needs for survival include air, water, food, clothes and shelter. These basic needs must be met to ensure and sustain life. Illnesses and infections, dangers and death will result if these essential necessities are unsatisfied. For these reasons, we are likely to agree that it would be sad, sadistic and senseless to deprive someone of these provisions.
Today, I would like to address other needs that are equally important. They are often unacknowledged. Many times, they are given scarce legitimacy or validity. They tend to be overlooked and go unmet. They may not even be considered vital. However, just like the above-mentioned needs, they are also crucial and seminal in having a balanced life and wellness.
Both children and adults have these additional needs. From birth to death, each of us long to have these needs filled. Like the five basic ones, a deprivation of these needs will cause a deterioration of our physical health, as well as our emotional, mental, relational and spiritual welfare. Only achieving good physical health is incomplete. The journey toward total wellness should also encompass a pursuit of optimal emotional and spiritual health.
The totality of who we are entails significant needs of our body, mind and spirit. Our corporal self is only an aspect of our humanity. Because the body, mind and spirit are inseparable and intertwined, it is wise to acknowledge, address and satisfy all our needs. To tend to only one of the three aspects does not treat or optimize our complete health.
Okay, enough teasing. Let’s discuss these additional needs.
Need for Affection
As much as food can feed the body, affection can nourish the deepest hunger of our soul. A yearning to be loved. A craving to be nurtured. Love can be conveyed via edifying words, kind acts or spending time with someone. “I love you.” “You are special.” Giving a gift when it is not expected. Going on a hike with someone. These loving statements and deeds can uplift the downcast, inspire the discouraged and comfort the dejected.
Affection can also be expressed via healthy touch. The need for touch is as important as the need for food. Affectionate touch is therapeutic. Touch deprivation has detrimental effects on our health. Those who are touch deprived have a greater likelihood to feel anxious, lonely and/or depressed, and this can lead to unhealthy issues like comfort/emotional eating, social phobia, etc. Those who have been wounded physically, emotionally and spiritually can benefit greatly from receiving nourishing touch. A pat, caress, hug, embrace, cuddle, and other forms of beneficial touch—all promote healing and restoration.
Need for Affirmation
As much as water can quench our thirst, affirmation can satisfy our need to be heard, acknowledged, understood and accepted. Many of us are unrecognized for being kind and caring. Many of us are unappreciated for being selfless and sacrificial. We need approval. We long to be appreciated. A lack of affirmation may cause us to search for it by becoming a people-pleaser without any healthy boundaries, and this may lead to some unhealthy behaviors. Likewise, a deficiency of affirmation may cause us to neglect our own needs in the quest to find some. Moreover, we may build our self-worth on things that truly do not bring lasting peace and joy.
Life can be draining. Stress, worries, and anxieties can deplete our overall wellness and take a tool on our body, mind and spirit. Therefore, let’s be proactive in being a messenger and tool of health and wellbeing. Let’s abundantly acknowledge, affirm, appreciate and approve! A nod, smile, hello, handshake, “attaboy/girl!”, “good job,” “I’m proud of you!”, a gift, and other ways to convey affirmation—all promote good self-worth and security.
Need for Acceptance
The need for acceptance is also essential to have a balanced life. Similar to the need to be affirmed, we all have an inherent desire to fit in. None of us enjoys being ostracized. Many of us have a fear of rejection, and, as you may know, this fear can cause us not to live up to our full potential. We need to form our unique identity, so we have a firm foundation and sense of self and self-worth. In short, we all long to belong!
My heart goes out to those who are rejected. I am sad when I see someone who is alone and lonely. I empathize with those who are considered lost causes. I am an advocate of those who have no one to turn to. Love is not just a feeling. Love is an action. Just as faith without deeds is dead, love without action is worthless. Embracing this truth propels me to make a difference in positive and proactive ways.
Too often in life, we see people who are exclusively focused on their own needs, desires, goals, aspirations, issues and problems. Although there is nothing wrong with tending to our own interests and concerns, I am convinced it is more fulfilling to not be consumed by self-promotion, self-aggrandizement and self-centeredness. Utter narcissism is not an existence I want to live. Instead, my passion is to be a bridge-builder. My purpose is to extend a meaningful and beneficial friendship to those who are ignored, lost and broken. My prayer is that I can be used to empower (not enable) and be a conduit of healing and restoration.
Need for Aspiration
The need for aspiration is key in achieving an optimal life. It is said that without a vision, the people perish. Those of us who do not have ambition or set goals tend to lead an existence of mediocrity and stagnation. Conversely, those who are driven to better themselves and their situation tend to have more contentment. Having a greater purpose in life can give us a lasting joy. Having a deeper meaning in life can bring us a peace that surpasses common sense.
Some of us seem to have everything. Fame and fortune. Intellect and importance. Wit and wealth. Authority and affluence. Luxury and looks. Acclaim and accomplishments. Millions and mansions. Lauded and loved by millions. Yet, many of these success stories lack true significance. With all the pleasures afforded to them, they lack lasting peace. A deep meaning in life escapes them amid the worldly distractions. An altruistic purpose in life is drowned out by the superficial deification.
Rich or poor, educated or unschooled, beautiful or unattractive, powerful or unassuming, or anywhere in between, we all have an innate need for profound significance, meaning and purpose in life. Let’s celebrate the successes we have accomplished, but let’s not stop there. May we all have lives filled with genuine joy, peace, depth, fulfillment and love…and that only comes from a humble gratitude of who we are and what we have and using our time, talents and treasures to bless others!
All my best to you and yours,
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