Needs. We have many of them. Most are quite simple. The most obvious are physical needs. We need food, water, shelter. You never really hear anyone say, “Yeah, I never really had water growing up but I got by without ever having a drink.” Likewise, it isn’t too common to hear someone say, “No, I don’t eat. We didn’t have food when I was a kid so I got used to not eating. It turns out that I’m just fine without it.” No. You have physical needs and they are non negotiable.
Another category of needs are intellectual. We need to be “fed” with knowledge and learning. We have laws that actually mandate that we educate our children. If there is a law it must be important (or someone making money out of a loophole in the law…I digress). Contrary to what it may seem like, even after we “get done” with school, we continue to have the need to fill our brain with new information and training. This can come in the form of formal education, specific or general reading, hobbies, entertainment, etc. Our brain has the need to be engaged and used or it will lose it ability and effectiveness.
You may or may not believe in a “higher being”. It doesn’t matter, you have a spiritual need. You may even fill that need with the exact opposite of belief. You may be passionately against having faith in anything other than yourself, or mankind, or rocks…whatever. These are spiritual needs. Most often they are met in the realm of faith. Even stone age tribes having been reached by missionaries have a strong sense of faith and set of beliefs. It is in our very nature. It is a need we all have to fill and have met.
The last category of needs is the most overlooked and frankly more often than not, ignored. They are poo poo’d as trivial and optional. However, they are as important as any of the above needs if not more. I say this because they are intertwined with all of our needs. The ones I speak of now are emotional needs.
Emotional needs are a vital part of our lives. They touch every aspect at all times. They lay the groundwork for every relationship we have. The shape the way we view, act, and react to everything that happens to us. Yet, we deny them, ignore them, or are ignorant to there very existence. Imagine saying, “I’ve never been to school, I have no home or shelter of any kind, and I’ve never thought of let alone believed that there is more out there than what meets the eye.” You would quickly point out what a ridiculous statement that is. If, however, you heard someone say, “I don’t need anyone else. I am my own man. I am an island.” One might think it’s sad but something that is ok to say. It is not because it’s just not true. We were made to be in relationships with others and thus we have needs that are met only through the interactions with other people. These are emotional needs.
If you have a day filled with hurt you most likely describe it as a…wait for it, “bad day”. If you get into a confrontation with someone or somebody says or does something that leaves you in pain you say, “my feelings were hurt” (if you even admit it). This is true but a truer statement would be you had an emotional need not met. Your boss screams and yells at you, threatens to fire you? Your need for “security” has taken a direct hit. Your child rolls their eyes at you while you are correcting them. Your need for respect is not being met at this very moment. Everything goes wrong at work, you come home and tell your wife about how bad things went. Rather than getting an “ahh honey” and a hug you get a rundown of everything that went wrong for her. You did not receive comfort.
Too often, our response to having an emotional need not met is something like, “oh well” or “whatever”. Imagine if you went a day with no water or drink of any kind. Do you think you would simply say, “well, that’s the way it goes sometimes.” No. You would do everything you could to get a drink. The sneaky thing with emotional needs is that subconsciously we scramble just as hard to get them met too. We’ll take a look at how that manifest itself in our life down the road a bit. For now, take a look at your life, your relationships, what’s missing? What gets you mad? What means more to you when you get it than anything else? These are emotional needs and they are real and are impacting your life more than you’d ever realize.