Needs of life

For whatever reason, despite all the biological similarities, we all have different needs.

Why?

Well, there were differences in upbringings, social standings, cultural impediments, etc.

But regardless of the reasons why, we all tend to have different requirements for maintaining our baseline of happiness. And as I like to say, happiness is usually the goal.

But everyone is different, and it needs to be acknowledged that what works for one will not necessarily work for another.

It’s important for us to identify what our needs are and to accept that others are not us. This is how we build up healthy discourse between a diverse group.

So what are these three needs?

  1. Physical
  2. Mental
  3. Spiritual

They are the three components of every human life, and identifying how to fulfill each one of their requirements is how we learn to behave in a way that is most beneficial to us as living, breathing humans.

So let’s explore all these things we need…

1. Physical Needs

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These ones are fairly universal across the board. You need rest and shelter from the elements. You need to breathe. You need water. Your body needs to be nourished.

The difference lies in what kind of nourishment our individual bodies need.

You can likely agree that we all need food (at least, we need it to survive), but no one seems to agree on what kind of food or how much we need. There will likely be a debate about the best kind of diet to follow for the remainder of human civilization.

In today’s world, there’s no need to forage and scrounge just to survive as a human. We’ve evolved beyond that point. We have unlimited options of how and when to feed ourselves. An unlimited amount of food is at the ready all over the world (provided the politics agree!!).

And it’s very important to note that our beliefs are based on our experiences and our feelings on the matter. They are not the best scientifically proven methods of measuring another’s experience.

If one person thrives on veganism, another may get hideously ill. If one person swears by wheat products, a person with Celiac’s disease would torture themselves with gluten overload.

There is no consensus on what should be eaten by whom or when or in what quantity. Science changes its opinion very often, and the reliance on such a paradigm in a large cultural sphere tends to shift public opinion and create clashes among belief systems and core physical needs – regardless of what is “right” for you.

That said, if you pay attention to your body, it will tell you what you need and when you need it.

Learn to listen.

2. Emotional Needs

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This is where we start to get into shaky territory. Unlike physical needs, there isn’t much consensus on what we need in the emotional realm.

Some say we need love, some say acceptance, some say validation, some say kindness, some say compassion, and on and on.

Of course, we all drive toward happiness, love, and ultimately, fulfillment, but to say we need them is arguable. I need food to survive. But as much as I’d like happiness, it’s not essential for my survival.

I would argue that we need all of our emotions in order to sustain ourselves through life. I say “all”, including the “good” and “bad” ones. As long as we exist in this realm, we need to experience all the things here, otherwise, we wouldn’t be here.

When we talk about emotional needs, we usually refer to the things that make us feel “good” or “happy” (or something equally pleasurable).

But I’m saying that everything has its place and wouldn’t exist if it didn’t. It may not feel the best to be experiencing anger or fear, but this emotional pull is necessary to gauge where on the emotional continuum we would like to maintain.

All too often we shun the “bad” and savor the “good” in an attempt to hold onto our bliss. But like all things in life, it will pass. The best thing to do is be with it as it happens, and let the moment be itself.

Read: What is Mindfulness?

3. Spiritual Needs

Spiritual Needs

This one is the real problem.

No one can agree on what our spiritual needs are, largely because it’s universally recognized that there’s no “true” answer.

I need water for survival, but millions of people don’t need God to live. And of the ones that do, they can’t even agree on the kind or style of God which is necessary for survival.

The tension this causes in modern society is more than palpable. Religious wars are fought every day in homes and in battlefields. Differing views in spiritual “truths” are causing rifts even between members of the same belief systems. It seems that spirituality has the most potential for revolution, and also a great potential for destruction.

Read: How To Achieve World Peace

When assessing spiritual needs, you have to look at yourself as a whole and start asking questions that go beyond emotional needs into a more primordial atmosphere. These questions exist beyond the fear of limited time and space.

Questions like:

  • Who am I as a person?
  • What does it mean to be alive?
  • How do I want to live?
  • Why do these things matter to me?

This is where you get to shake up some core beliefs and really question your life’s philosophy.

Different than physical and emotional needs, spiritual needs are felt rather than rationalized.

  • Do you need to feel God?
  • Do you need to feel important?
  • Do you need to feel alive?

There is no right answer here; there is only an answer that feels “right” to you.

The only way to assess your spiritual needs is with honesty. Deluding yourself (or another) into a spiritual path will ultimately lead to disappointment.

Putting It All Together

By now, you may have seen the relationships between these three kinds of needs. Your emotional needs dictate your physical needs. Your spiritual needs are the result of your emotional needs. Your physical needs may change how you feel about your spiritual needs (…and so on).

The point here is that there is no separation between the three.

In fact, in writing this, I could feel the sections being pulled together like a rubber band being stretched out. My physical needs have an impact on my emotional needs which are all things I have to acknowledge with my sense of spirituality.

Integration of these three things just happens, but it’s important to occasionally pull them apart and carefully examine them. It’s like cleaning out the closet – remove the things you no longer need and keep the things that serve you best.

There’s only your answer to any of these personal questions. What suits you best is what you currently need.

Everything will likely change at some point, and in the event that you feel they have, your self-reflective process will assess what has changed, and your beliefs will change accordingly.

This is yet another personal experience. A personal journey that only you can lead. If you navigate with honest self-reflection, you will always find the answers.

Only you know you like you know you.

Which one of these three things do you find changes the most? How do you deal with your needs when they change? What does your process look like? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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Eric Michelson

Eric Michelson is a writer, blogger, philosopher, activist, artist, Buddhist, and mindfulness enthusiast. He is the founder of and editor-in-chief for Perspective Earth - an online discussion space for revolutionaries and thinkers. His lifelong mission is to serve and serve he will. You can follow him and PVEarth on Facebook and Twitter.

About The Author

Eric Michelson is a writer, blogger, philosopher, activist, artist, Buddhist, and mindfulness enthusiast. He is the founder of and editor-in-chief for Perspective Earth - an online discussion space for revolutionaries and thinkers. His lifelong mission is to serve and serve he will. You can follow him and PVEarth on Facebook and Twitter.

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