No matter what race, sex, or religion we are, no matter where we are born or how we are raised, we, as humans have six basic needs. The word "need" implies the not having of something, so it is not a preferable word to use, but I am using it for the sake of this article because for most humans, the word "desire" means something that is wanted but something that we can do without. But we are not talking about things that can be done without, we are talking about things that are absolutely necessary for a human to live a happy, healthy life; and the word most people associate with necessary is "need".
Our happiness depends on our ability to meet those needs and get those needs met in healthy ways. Our perceived powerlessness to meet those needs in healthy ways is what creates the kind of love that we call "painful attachment". It is what prevents us from developing a truer form of love, which is unconditional and is free from painful attachment (which is basically resistance to what is). The English language limits us because we only have one word to represent and describe a plethora of different states involving our connection to others. That one word is love. But there are many different states that we call love, which do not actually reflect unconditional, universal love. It is important to know up front that not everything you identify as love, is actually love. It is especially important to understand this if you are to understand what is to follow and how the six human needs fits into the picture of love.
In order to understand the six human needs, we need to explore them one by one.
This can easily be called the survival need. It is the most primary human need. This need represents our need to be certain that we can avoid pain and gain pleasure. It is the need for safety, stability, comfort and unlimited resources that we can rely on.
This is the need for change, challenge, excitement and stimulus. Some could argue that it is a paradoxical need to the need for certainty, in that it implies that we need a certain amount of uncertainty in order to be happy with our life.
This is the need for purpose, importance and meaning. It is the need to be special and worthy of attention. Often, this is called the need for esteem.
This is the need for connection with others. It is the need for a sense of being a part of something. It is the need for a sense of belonging, oneness and the need to be loved as well as to love others. Our need for intimacy falls under this category.
This is the need to grow and develop, find fulfillment and self-actualize.
This is the need to contribute to that which is beyond you. The need to give and provide something of value outwards towards other people, the world and the universe at large.
We all have different ways of meeting these needs. We meet them in both conscious and subconscious ways. And we feel much more confidant about meeting some of these needs than others. But it is important to understand that we meet these needs (we seek happiness) in both healthy and unhealthy ways. To explain what I mean, let's look at some healthy and unhealthy ways that we can meet each of these needs.
Healthy: Creating healthy routines, developing belief systems that serve us, choosing partners that enhance our feelings of security, developing consistency, developing beliefs in our own control over our reality, developing a positive identity, engaging in activities we already know we like, gaining information and knowledge, being organized, expecting positive behaviors from yourself, developing an optimistic way of thinking.
Unhealthy: Becoming Obsessive Compulsive, demanding that other people to provide it for us when they don't want to, eating disorders, cutting, developing a negative identity, expecting negative behaviors from yourself, becoming controlling of other people and things, obsessive preparation for the worst, rape, murder, war.
Healthy: Learning new things, trying new foods, traveling, finding new hobbies/passions, engaging in stimulating conversations, watching movies we've never watched, playing games or sports, reading books we've never read, meeting new people, finding new challenges.
Unhealthy: High risk/adrenaline activities, alcohol and drugs, self sabotage, picking fights with significant others when we feel bored, cheating while in monogamous relationships, war.
Healthy: Developing a positive identity, allowing your uniqueness to be expressed to the world, Accomplishing goals, developing a unique sense of style, adopting belief systems that reflect your importance, developing a sense of purpose, seeking out meaning for life and for your own existence, allowing yourself to get notice and distinction in healthy ways.
Unhealthy: Tearing other people down, rescuing others, committing violent acts that get attention, developing a negative identity, attaching to negative diagnosis that you are given, using other people to gain social status, lying in order to seem more impressive to other people, rape, murder, war.
Healthy: Sharing, Intimacy, openness, becoming a part of organizations, teams and groups that are healthy, developing compassion, spending time in nature understanding, cultivating an understanding and recognition of oneness, healthy sex, healthy physical affection, exchanging gifts, expressing words of love towards yourself and others, "filling up your own cup", performing acts of service, spending quality time with others, caring for pets, connecting with yourself, developing spirituality.
Unhealthy: Self-sacrificing, joining gangs, unhealthy sexual interactions, seeking out pity by being sick or having problems consistently, becoming accident prone so others will pay attention to us, people pleasing, rescuing others, causing others to feel as if they need us, rape, murder, joining one side or another during a war.
Healthy: Healthy challenges, learning, improving upon your current situation, following your bliss, changing, developing new ways to approach problems so that they benefit your growth, listening to other people's thoughts and taking what serves you from what they say.
Unhealthy: Pushing yourself too hard, never taking the path of least resistance, unhealthy challenges, only learning things the hard way, being unable to listen to other people, letting things get to the breaking point before you improve them, war.
Healthy: Random acts of kindness, becoming a part of things you believe in, letting your gifts express themselves to this world, helping others when it feels good to do so, carrying out your inspired vision for improvement of this world, giving just because it brings you joy to give, focusing on the solution, joining causes which carry out a solution.
Unhealthy: Becoming the contrast that inspires other people's expansion into a better place (like Hitler did for world peace) by acting in unhealthy ways towards yourself and the world, focusing on the problem, joining causes which perpetuate the problem, self sacrificing, war.
These are just some ways that we meet our six needs. Everything you ever do, whether it is ultimately beneficial or detrimental, you do for only one reason; because you think it will meet one or more of these six needs. Meeting these needs is what gives rise to the sensation of happiness. So this is why we can also say that the only reason anyone does anything is because they think it will add to their happiness.
Notice that some things we do, meet more than one need. For example, waging war or joining a war is an unhealthy way that we can potentially meet every one of these needs. It is no longer such a mystery why the human race has not been able to stop waging war for thousands of years when we recognize that for many, it meets several of the essential human needs.
It is crucial to our happiness that we meet every one of these six needs. The goal (contrary to popular opinion) is not to rid ourselves of these needs. It is to find out how to provide those needs for ourselves and find people who can provide them for us in healthy ways. It is a travesty that humans try to force themselves to not need what they need. Indeed the basis of many world religions is the individual quest to reach a state where we no longer have desires or needs. We come up with this idea that desires and needs are the root of suffering only when we feel incapable of meeting those desires and needs.
But now, I will present the most crucial part of information regarding the six human needs as it applies to relationships.
Independence is impossible. It is a giant illusion. Self-sufficiency and self-reliance has been glorified. Indeed, it is an empowering idea when we feel powerless to each other, which so many of us do. But self-sufficiency, like anger is merely a step along the way to true alignment. It is not all the way there. We need each other. End of story. People need each other. And need, while it may imply focus on the lack, is still indicative of our deepest desires, which are love, intimacy and connectedness. And we will not live if we do not allow ourselves to line up with our deepest desires because it defies expansion. The most self-loving thing a person can do is not to become self-sufficient and try to become a fulfilled unit in and of themselves. The most self-loving thing a person can do, is to allow themselves to accept themselves fully, empower themselves by meeting their own needs and finding people whose happiness is served by meeting the needs they cannot meet on their own. Only then, can we become the living embodiment of oneness. The independent self-reliance that has been glorified in the modern, western world is indeed one of the unhealthiest patterns that has ever emanated from our time space reality.
Empowerment is not the same thing as separate individualization. We tell a lie in the self-help industry, that we cannot hope to be in a good relationship if we are not ok in and of ourselves first. But a crucial part of our well-being is merging with others. A person cannot be a universe in and of themselves. The ego is the only one that says they can. We have all attached to a profoundly sick ideal, because we have been raised on it and we believe in it so deeply that we do not question it. We feel guilt for our level of “need” for each other. But this “need” is simply a universal truth peeking through, telling us that we are not and cannot be separate. In an interdependent world, dependency is an absolute of our existence. It is as much a truth as you create your own reality is a truth. This world is a mirror, and you are dependent on the reflection because in this universe, it is every bit as much you, as you are. Simply put… anger feels better than powerlessness. That is why it benefits people to get angry. And independence feels better than powerless victimhood. That is why it benefits people to get independent. But if our progression stops there, we will never find true happiness and our civilization will never progress. The teaching of independent self-reliance, is a step on the ladder from powerlessness to empowerment, like anger. But we worship it as if it were all the way there. As if it were empowerment. True empowerment cannot be experienced in individualization. Happiness is meaningless, if it is not shared. You will meet a great many experts who will tell you that you need to learn how to be ok alone and how to meet all your own needs yourself. This contradicts basic human biology, which is resistant to ourselves. It is taking an "avoidant" position to dealing with attachment. Which is in and of itself resistant in nature. Separation of any kind is ultimately illusion. It only benefits us to indulge in that illusion, if we are suffering as a result of our perceived enmeshment. Dependence is not powerlessness. Especially, when we have the power to create our own reality, and thus create what we are dependent on.
What most of us call love, is in fact not love. Instead, it is the feeling of needing someone. This thing that we are calling love is the result of the subconscious recognition that another person or thing provides us with a need that we do not feel capable of meeting ourselves, without the presence of that person or thing.
This is what gives rise to the intense biochemical reaction, which we associate with falling in love. It is what forces our positive focus towards them for a time. We, as humans, are in the perpetual search for wholeness. The key to being and feeling complete is to meet these needs in healthy ways. When we are not meeting our needs, we feel incomplete and when we find someone who meets those needs for us, we feel more complete, which is why we so often say we feel more "complete" when we are with the person we are in love with.
And so it must be said that all relationships are co-dependent to some degree and that is not necessarily unhealthy.
Your happiness seems to depend on them not because you love the other person unconditionally, but because they meet one or more of your needs that you do not feel capable of meeting without them. You are dependent on each other. This is the real reason why "opposites attract". People with opposing personalities, often have opposing deficiencies and strengths when it comes to meeting their own needs. A person, who feels incapable of creating variety for themselves, will often be attracted to an unpredictable mate because the unpredictable nature of their mate creates that sense of variety and excitement for them. And an unpredictable person will often be attracted to a predictable mate because the predictable nature of their mate creates a sense of certainty and comfort for them, which they feel incapable of creating for themselves. So instead of saying opposites attract, it is more accurate to say that needs attract.
It is not your job to deny yourself of your six needs. Even the most enlightened being in existence has these same needs. The enlightened being has simply perfected the art of meeting those needs in healthy ways. And now it is your turn to determine how you are currently meeting those needs. It is your turn to replace the unhealthy ways that you are meeting those needs with healthy ways of meeting those same needs. When you do this, you will no longer feel a sense of lack. And your relationships will be a source of joy instead of pain.