Understanding the 6 human needs and which needs we, and those we love, value most, is life’s most important strategy.
When we get clear on what our own needs are and get better at meeting our needs at a higher level, or in a positive way that is good for our overall well-being… then we experience deeper fulfillment and joy inside of ourselves.
In Relationship to Others:
The 6 Human Needs are the most effective way to track the level of happiness and fulfillment in any human relationship. When you understand which of the needs are most important to a person, and how that person satisfies their most important needs, you understand what brings them pleasure or pain. You also understand what’s truly driving that person and motivating them to take the actions they take, and even feel the feelings they feel.
Usually, for each person, two of these needs prevail over all the others. A person’s top 2 needs are experienced so intensely that the person will do almost anything to satisfy those needs. When you identify the two most important needs, you are discovering a person’s driving motivation, what gives meaning and motive to a person’s life… their life blueprint!
In marriage or any committed intimate relationship, each person must be aware of the other person’s needs in order to know what’s going on. Not knowing a partner’s needs inevitably leads to frustration and disappointment since even though a person may feel that he/she is giving everything, they are not giving what the other person really needs, in the way that the other person needs it. The challenge is that people’s deepest needs are often extremely specific and can be tricky to discern – it’s like a “secret button.” If spouses never find each other’s secret button, the relationship will feel difficult, and even impossible. If couples find the secret button and figure out how to give each other what each truly needs at the highest level, they will be able to generate levels of trust, happiness and love more profound than they ever thought possible.
The 6 Human Needs was developed by Tony Robbins, the father of the coaching industry, and Cloe Madanes, a world reknowned psychologist and psychotherapist, who both trained and certified me as a Life & Relationship Coach, Marriage Educator and Divorce Preventionist. I’m grateful to have learned this tool in a critical moment of my own marriage.
When my husband lost an 11 year job through no fault of his own when I was pregnant with our first son, I had no clue what was happening to him as a person and as a “mature masculine man”, because I didn’t understand his needs, nor my own. So I blamed him. I blamed him for the way he was showing up for me, the way I felt he wasn’t treating me right or connecting with me the way I needed. Instead of showing up with love and support when he was already down, I showed up with resistance, defensiveness, even contempt. I failed miserably to understand how his most valued needs were attached to his significance, success and certainty at work, while my most valued needs revolve around growth and love & connection. Because his top needs were no longer being due to his job loss, he wasn’t able to give me love and connection the way I needed it, because, ironically, it’s our human need to meet our most valued needs first before we can address the less valued needs.
Becoming an expert in the 6 human needs transformed me, the way I show up for my husband, the way I think and feel about him, the way I react to him, and the choices I make regarding how I show up for him. This, in turn, allowed him to be the man and partner I needed and wanted, even through the immense pain and challenges he was facing at the time.
I’m beyond grateful for having learned this tool and I teach it with determination and passion to my private individual and couple clients as well as in my workshops and company trainings in hopes that it can help those I serve even if just a small fraction of how it’s helped me!
Here are the 6 Human Needs:
All humans universally share these needs. What makes each and every one of us so unique is that we each value two needs out of the six. Whatever our top two needs are completely and directly determine our thoughts, our feelings, our choices, our ACTIONS… and ultimately our destiny. Your success in any human relationship, including the relationship you have with your SELF… hinges on your ability to discover which needs you and the other values most and what has to happen (your “rules”) to meet those needs. When spouses learn this, they will find the secret button that brings on love and happiness. A marriage never breaks up when the partners are meeting all of their partner’s needs at a high level.
Certainty that we can be comfortable – to have pleasure and avoid pain. Comfort, security, safety, stability, feeling grounded, predictability and protection.
Variety and challenges that exercise our emotional and physical range. Our bodies, our minds, our emotional well-being all require exertion through instability, exercise, suspense, entertainment, and surprise, as well as fear, conflict, and crisis.
Every person needs to feel special, important, needed and wanted, admired, that our lives have a special purpose and meaning. Pride, importance, achievement, performance, perfection, evaluation, discipline, standards and competition.
Everyone needs connection with other human beings and everyone strives for and hopes for love. Togetherness, inclusion, passion, unity, warmth, tenderness and romance.
Everything is either growing or dying. Nothing is stagnant. We need to constantly develop and expand ourselves emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.
We all desire to go beyond our own needs and give to others. Everything in the universe contributes beyond itself or is eliminated.
The first 4 Needs, Certainty, Uncertainty/Variety, Connection/Love and Significance, are essential for human survival. They are the fundamental needs of the personality – everyone must feel that they have met them on some level in order to survive. The last two needs, Growth and Contribution, are essential to human fulfillment. They are the needs of the spirit, and not everyone finds a way to satisfy them, although they are necessary for lasting fulfillment.
Because we humans share the same nervous system, everyone experiences the same 6 Human Needs. However, everyone finds different ways of satisfying each of these needs. Also, each of these needs can be met in ways that are positive – increasing the wellbeing of ourselves and others, or negative – decreasing the wellbeing of ourselves and others.
Here are examples of both positive and negative ways a person could meet each of the 6 human needs: The need for Certainty can be met by going to school and obtaining a degree, or by avoiding challenges or risks that lead to our growth. The need for Uncertainty / Variety can be met by reading about different subjects or meeting different kinds of people, or by engaging in high-risk sports or violent behavior. Some ways of satisfying these needs are good for the person’s well-being, good for others and good for society, while other ways decrease or sacrifice well-being for everyone. The need for Connection/Love can be satisfied through good deeds and kindness or by domination of others who are forced to show appreciation. The need for Significance can be met by being the best at something, or by having the biggest problem. Similarly, one can Grow and become a better person… or a more successful criminal. And one can Contribute to the well-being of many… or the downfall of another person.
Understanding our human needs brings empowering clarity to our lives by giving us awareness and choice in how we go about creating more joy & fulfillment in our lives and most valued relationships.