Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Chapter 3-2: The Challenge of Meeting Basic Needs

Human Needs That We All Have


Most of life is not about the big questions.  It’s about the dozens of little ones that add up to either feeling well or lousy.

  • Do we have a safe, comfortable place to live?
  • Do we have clean air to breath, fresh water to drink, good food to eat?
  • Do we have the means to support ourselves and make a living?
  • Are we able to protect the relationships, values, spaces and belongings we care about the most?
  • Do others value us and treat us well?
  • Can we get where we need to go?
  • Do we have time and energy to pursue our dreams, interests, and activities?
  • Do our lives, on the whole, feel meaningful and satisfying?

These are common human needs.  They are not optional.


Human beings everywhere do best – physically, mentally, socially, spiritually - when we can count on certain basic needs being met. That’s why the human community has decided to recognize such basic needs as “human rights.”  Universal Declaration of Human Rights, http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/

Human rights include things as basic as access to clean water, breathable air, shelter, food, clothing, physical safety, healthcare, the means to make a living and support a family. Human rights also acknowledge that human existence is more than material things.  We need to belong, form relationships and feel like a part of things. We also need the freedom to be ourselves - to explore, learn, develop and to express our ideas, convictions, creativity and potential.

When human needs (rights) are denied or overlooked, it’s bad for everyone. We don’t have what we need to live or be well. This triggers concern and dis-ease in most of us.  If not addressed, this dis-ease can grow into full-blown mental distress – like anxiety or depression. It can also lead to mental and behavioral extremes. This includes intense, prolonged ‘fight-flight-freeze’ responses that can disconnect us from ourselves, each other and the communities we live in.

Basic Human Needs








Socio-Economic Competition


Getting our needs met in the modern world is not just a simple straight-forward process.  All too often, our welfare depends on competing with each other.  The idea is that resources are‘scarce’ and there are only so many available to go around.

It's important to note that we don't just compete with each other for the luxuries.  We also compete for the basics – the life essentials that all of us need to be happy, healthy and reasonably comfortable. Since much of what we compete for is not optional (it is stuff that all of us need), the competition for basic needs creates added stress all around.

To see if concerns like these affect you, check out the survey below:






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