There are three basic human needs that everyone possesses from birth. If any of these three areas are threatened, we get into resistance and non-optimal being. I’ll discuss these three needs below and their importance.
As you can probably guess, love is paramount in all of our lives. There is an intrinsic desire and need for love beginning at birth. You might have heard of the old study in Britain where babies were known to literally die if they were not touched enough and communicated with by others. This occurred even though nutritional needs were met. This is a very sad study indeed and it demonstrates we are hardwired for love. Try to remember this when you are create life goals or want to go a certain direction in life. Where is the love in this decision? How do I express love? What has love meant to me in the past?
Your brain cortex, the front of your brain, holds much of the emotion associated with love. Love is more than an emotion, but physiologically, the cortex is associated with the emotional components. I mention this so we can form a holistic understanding of the complete person. Love is physical, emotional, and spiritual. Brain plasticity is a real phenomenon, which is affected by love. We can change our brain chemistry, physical formation, and lifespan by increasing love in our lives. This is now scientifically proven.
The second main need for us is safety. This shouldn’t be a large surprise to most of us. We know since the caveman days that safety has been at the top of concerns. The real question is whether or not this age old concern for safety has become antiquated when we juxtapose the concern against the reality of today. We are not living in caves anymore and have basic services for the most part, yet this psychosocial response for safety still affects us and holds us back at times. Awareness is key. Am I having fear of safety right now? Do I feel safe at work? Do I feel safe at home most of the time? These are real questions that can shed light on your current state, living situation, and old patterns of thinking. I’ve realized for a while that safety was a major driving force between many of my decisions including my career decisions of the past. What about you?
The brain stem, or “reptile brain”, holds the emotions associated with fear. A concern for safety is sometimes a deep rooted fear that gets exercises frequently in our nervous system. We can re-sculpt our brain into a healthier tool by acknowledging fear as mostly a “false flag” and turn our thoughts towards a more courageous, serene direction.
A sense of belonging is a fantastic feeling. It also ties in closely with that historic fear for safety we mentioned before. To me, belonging is about community. Do I feel I belong in my family? If not, do I feel like I belong with some friends or peers? Do I feel like I belong most of the time? Answer these questions honestly, and you can examine the more closely and find out the root reasons why you many not have a feeling of belonging most of the time. It’s amazing how many of us live amongst millions of people yet we don’t feel like we belong with most people. There are many reasons for this and most are self inflicted. Change is possible to increase feelings of belonging while ameliorating some basic fears.
Limbic System Holds it Together–Kind of
Regarding the physiological process in the brain, a point to realize is the Limbic System tries to keep the peace between the cortex and stem with justifiable emotions. One could have outbursts of anger in an attempt to reconcile the stem’s interpretation of impending death and the cortex’s feeling hurt by someone’s comment.
Now, that we know the three basic needs for everyone: love, safety, and belonging, we can use this knowledge to understand people and their behaviors at a deeper level. For example, maybe the guy who just flicked me off driving by in the car felt threatened somehow? Maybe his safety was threatened inside and his reaction is immediate anger? With deeper understanding, we can head off and transmute acute judgments within ourselves. After all, isn’t the goal to be happier people?
This is a solid step in that direction of happiness. Understanding these three needs also helps us clarify our goals in life. Shouldn’t hour life purpose be a way to project some kind of love into the world? In addition, we can find this purpose and it will greatly reduce our fear for safety and fear of not belonging to a group. There are ways to weave these three components into everything we do while instilling a basic homeostasis allowing us to achieve more, understand deeply, and be at peace.