Book: Reflections

Reflections - bringing attention to your daily life by Désirée Steinmann

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Reflections of the Week

Your personal Quality Checklist - Part 2 – Needs

2015-02-13 16:33 (comments: 0)

Needs are a very interesting topic. We all know our basic physiological needs such as food, water, air, daylight, vitamins, etc. These needs are medically explained and we accept them as part of life. We know that we need to fulfill them in order to survive.
When we talk about emotional needs, however, things often look quite different. We learn nothing about it at school and we do not talk about it at parties; often not even among friends. The topic certainly comes up in relationships, but there the needs are most likely discussed as a problem than as a way to live a fulfilled life.

Needs, unlike values that we carry within us, need to be fulfilled by the outside world. We get outside what we need in order to meet our internal needs, very much like we get water to quench our thirst. When we drink regularly, thirst is never a problem, but if we drink too little, we feel thirsty and constantly think about it and maybe complain about it. If, at this stage, we still do not drink, we might even become aggressive or whiny.

It is the same with our emotional needs. When we know what we need and our needs are always met, we are balanced and happy. When this is not the case, we are bound to show negative reactions.
 Do you know your needs? Can you tell me which are the most important to you?
If not, then take a look at the 6 universal emotional needs that we all have in common:

  1. Safety: need of security and knowing what's coming
  2. Variety: need of uncertainty, surprise  and change
  3. Significance: need to be special and to be worthy of attention 
  4. Love & Relationships: need to be loved and connected with others, to belong 
  5. Growth: need to continue to develop and learn
  6. Contribution: need to contribute to something greater than oneself

Everything we do is driven by our values and our needs. We usually have 2 or 3 needs, which are our "core needs". It is relatively easy to guess from our behavioral patterns what they are, and whether we meet them in a positive, neutral or negative way.
Take, for example, significance. I can feel significant when I put a gun to someone’s head (because I immediately get full attention). Or I can feel significant if I help somebody solve a big problem. I will also feel significant when I take care of someone.

Take a moment and consider:

  1. Can you identify 2 or 3 of your core needs?  Which ones are the most important to you?
  2. How do they get fulfilled? In a positive, neutral or negative way? (For example, in your relationships, at work, with food, sports, etc.)
  3. How could these needs be better met in order for you to live a more fulfilling life?

Even if the needs can be only fulfilled from the outside, it does not mean that we are helpless or at the mercy of the outside world. We can take care of ourselves and design our lives so that our needs have a good chance to be met regularly.

 I wish you a lot of fun identifying and fulfilling your needs, and I encourage you to make the needs the topic of conversation with your partners, friends and family members. Meeting each other’s needs brings closeness and depth that will inspire you!

If you would like to talk about your needs, I will be happy to schedule a Skype conference everyone interested - just let me know!

In the next reflections we are going to talk about the third driving force: our beliefs or rules of life.

I look forward to it!




That's the thing about needs. Sometimes, when you get them met, you don't need them anymore.


Michael Patrick King


Understanding human needs is half the job of meeting them.


Adlai E. Stevenson Jr.


Habits - the only reason they persist is that they are offering some satisfaction. You allow them to persist by not seeking any other, better form of satisfying the same needs. Every habit, good or bad, is acquired and learned in the same way - by finding that it is a means of satisfaction.


Juliene Berk

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