All of us are born with natural intelligence, genetically encoded into us. This information manifests in our daily lives as both bodily and emotional needs. We all share a biological heritage of these emotions, which have evolved over millions of years and are independent of our cultural backgrounds. They inspire and motivate us to develop into our full potential as people and thrive in every situation.
We are born into the world requiring air to breathe, water to drink, nourishing food, and enough sleep. These are our main physical requirements. We also require the freedom to engage our senses and work our muscles. We naturally look for adequate and secure refuge where we can develop, reproduce, and raise our young. These emotional requirements are closely related to our physical needs.
We experience diverse psychological and biological states brought on by emotions, which motivate us to act. Nature has equipped us with emotional needs so that we can survive in the world and remain connected to other people through our interactions. When our needs are not met, we experience powerful emotions such as anxiety, anger and despair to ensure we are driven to fulfil these needs and ensure survival.
People with balanced emotional needs are less likely to experience mental health issues. We survive and grow as individuals and as a species by fulfilling our physical and emotional needs.
Our essential emotional needs include the following:
Security - a safe environment that allows us to fully develop.
Attention - to give and receive attention from others, e.g. socialising.
Autonomy - having the power to make choices about one’s life.
Intimacy - to know that at least one other person fully accepts us for who we are.
Community - feeling we are part of and contribute to a wider community.
Privacy - having the time to reflect on and process our experiences.
Status - a sense of importance within social groups.
Challenge - a sense of competence, achievement and ability to be creative.
Meaning and Purpose - working towards something that aligns with our values.
As well as physical and emotional needs, we also have resources that help us meet these needs. These include:
Long-term memory which enables us to develop innate knowledge and learn.
The ability to build rapport, empathise and connect with others.
Imagination that enables us to problem-solve more creatively and objectively.
Emotions and instincts.
A conscious, rational mind to question, analyse and plan.
The ability to understand the world through metaphors and patterns.
The ability to observe ourselves, our thoughts, emotions and behaviour.
Our resources, emotional and physical needs have constantly evolved as they propelled our progress over time. They are innate patterns or biological templates that interact constantly and enable us to survive, coexist and prosper in various social groups. The utilisation and fulfilment of these needs and resources determine our physical, mental, and moral health. We are more likely to be mentally healthy and stable when we feel emotionally fulfilled and are functioning well within society. However, when too many of our physical and emotional requirements are not met in the environment or when our resources are misused, it causes great suffering to ourselves and others.
For more information please visit: https://www.hgi.org.uk/human-givens/introduction/what-are-human-givens