Sure, we humans need things like oxygen, food, water and pictures of puppies to survive. But there’s a deeper layer of things we need to thrive. My recovery coach training emphasizes 10 of those needs, and I put them all on a Human Needs Monster as an art therapy project on the topic of support.
10 human needs that support our souls are:
While there are multiple reasons as to why people may cross the line into addiction, one of the driving forces may be that their human needs have consistently gone unmet. Even if folks don’t get sucked into addiction from their unmet needs, they can get sucked into a life of habitual fear, anger, sadness and shame.
Either way, it’s gonna suck. (I know because I’ve been there.)
Ongoing need for needs
Note that all the above human needs must come from our relationships with others. Yeah, that one’s a downer for some folks who would prefer to rely on their dogs. No matter how hard they try and how much you love them, your dogs can’t fulfill all your human needs. (I know because I’ve been there, too.)
And even if our human needs were consistently met at various stages of our lives, it’s not like we can sit back and live off the fat of the human needs land.
We need to keep fueling and refueling our souls with these needs if we want to stay happy, healthy and glad to be alive.
But wait! Refilling those needs may not be as tough as you think, as long as you surround yourself with people who can provide them. Notice it says PEOPLE who can provide them, and not just a single person.
If you expect a single person to fulfill ALL your needs, they’re going to get exhausted, you’re going to get resentful and your relationship will go to hell in a hand basket. (Yep, tried this one, too.)
Fueling your needs with well-rounded plan
So what’s the plan? Choose to be around partners, family members, friends, life coaches, therapists, support groups and other people that fuel those needs – without you even needing to ask. Here’s where the monster can serve as an example.
The Human Needs Monster can fill your needs with the following actions that relate to each.
- Acceptance: Monster doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, serious or silly, or even if you’re prone to being messy, loud or laughing at inappropriate times. He’s glad to be your pal.
- Affection: Monster likes to hug to show his love. If you’re not a hugger, he can draw you a picture instead.
- Appreciation: Monster gives you thanks and gifts to show how much you mean to him.
- Approval: Monster is quick to give you a big thumbs up and welcome you into his fold.
- Attention: Monster drops whatever he’s doing to pay attention to you (unless he’s in the middle of art project).
- Comfort: Monster is easy to talk to, fun to hang out with, and never puts you on edge.
- Encouragement: If you want a cheerleader backing everything you do, this monster is there.
- Respect: Monster treats you with the dignity every human deserves (even when he disagrees with your point of view).
- Security: You feel safe and calm when monster’s around.
- Support: Monster’s got your back, no matter what.
So that’s the deal. See how easy it can be? All you need to do is hang around people like the monster, and you’ll be a joyful, shining, brilliant soul brimming with everything you need.
One more really cool note. When you’re getting everything you need, you tend to automatically reciprocate, fueling other people’s needs in return. Good stuff, this recovery and life coaching. Give it a whirl.