Finding joy through understanding Human Needs Psychology

New Year 2016 – spending a quiet day on the sofa nursing a cold taking the opportunity to rest. Now, having a cold on the first day  of 2016 seems a bit unfortunate as I pride myself on keeping well – especially as I am in the business of helping others with their health issues! But I realise of course that I must rest and restore myself by not rushing around today but keeping warm, taking Echinacea (a powerful immune stimulus), and loosening my grip on my need to do something.

I have long struggled with this issue and I know that a lot of my clients do also – the need to be a ‘Human Doing‘ – where we get our self worth from our achievements in the external world – the ‘doings’ rather than making changes internally. Indeed if you want to achieve lasting change in your life (and New Year is a good time to commit to that – whether it be weight loss, a better relationship or a more satisfying work life for instance) then you need to look at what your current behaviours are doing for you in terms of satisfying the basic human needs.  Anthony Robbins and Chloe Madanes talk of the 6 Human Needs:

You can see that the most basic ones are lower down the triangle. I would maybe disagree with some of the terminology; I would call certainty safety for instance. We all need to feel safe and free from pain. Uncertainty I would call ‘variety’ and this one has led me to end relationships so is very key for me. Significance I have already talked about and led me to the work I now do I think. But some of these things are in competition with eachother – we cannot always have love and connection when we feel unsafe,  and certainty and uncertainty are in precarious balance usually. If we get our significance from our job or relationship and then we lose it, this can lead to much suffering until we find a way to generate this for ourselves again. For growth to occur we need to all these pillars in place in the right proportions for us. You see that it is a hierarchy (much like Maslow’s triangle).

But most of us have never examined what our behaviours give us in these terms. For instance, does over-eating give us certainty? In many ways it does. Better than the difficulties of relating to others, as it is a reliable way of seeing comfort – even if it damages us in the process… When we see that what we are really seeking is to feel joy in our lives, but it is our behaviour based on an unconscious belief that is driving us, we can choose to do something differently. Our self-worth comes from our unspoken beliefs about ourselves – and mine was certainly unhealthy and led me to overwork  and ultimately illness.

So, today, I thank my illness for the insight it gave me and the will do it differently now . I will rest and restore today. Wishing you all the best for 2016.

p.s for more information about this work see the RobbinsMadanes website and also my other blogs on the theories of the Human Givens Institute which uses the Maslow hierarchy and has developed them.

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