6 Human Needs


All of us have basic needs, not merely desires but profound needs that underlie and motivate every choice we make. There are six universal human needs that can be satisfied in negative or positive ways. They are: Certainty, Significance, Uncertainty/Variety, Love/Connection, Growth and Contribution.The first four are essential to human survival. The last two are essential to human fulfillment.



SIGNIFICANCE: The third need is for significance. Every person needs to feel important, needed, wanted. As babies, we all needed to feel that we were number one. Children in a family compete with each other and find a way to be special, to feel unique. Significance comes from comparing ourselves to others – in our quest for significance we become involved in hierarchical pecking orders and questions of superiority or inferiority. We can feel significant because we have achieved something, built something, succeeded at something, or we can seek significance by tearing down something or somebody.

In its positive aspect, significance leads us to raise our standards. But if we are overly focused on significance, we will have trouble truly connecting with others – comparisons focus on differences rather than commonalities. For some, significance comes from providing for the family; for others, from doing meaningful work, some need to make a major contribution to humanity; some require immense wealth. Some people achieve a sense of significance from failure, by being the worst at something or from having low self-esteem. Whatever the measure of significance, a sense of being important is necessary to all human beings. Code words for significance are: pride, importance, standards, achievement, performance, perfection, evaluation, discipline, competition and rejection.


I believe that happiness comes from feeling respected and important. I need to be considered unique and special. I need for people to look up to me and even fear me to a certain extent.

How This Belief Serves You

I work hard at being different, special, and unique. I strive to be a leader. I do whatever is necessary for people to look up to me, respect me and admire me. I never want to be a follower.

The Principles You Lost Sight Of

Sometimes love is more important than respect. It’s difficult to love someone who has to feel important all the time. Humility is an important virtue. Being admired by many but loved by few may not be conducive to happiness. “Heavy lies the head that bears the crown.” – Shakespeare –

The Consequences of Losing Sight of These Principles

People sometimes dislike me because they see me as arrogant and full of myself. I have to constantly work at being respected and admired. I have trouble letting love flow when I don’t feel important. People sometimes think that I consider myself superior to everyone. I can come across as cold and uncaring. I often find it difficult to have fun. I can be seen as close-minded. I have trouble relating to others because I focus on differences rather than commonalities. I’m overly concerned with hierarchical pecking orders.


I focus on what to do to appear special, different and important. I will do almost anything to preserve my uniqueness. I focus on playing the part of someone very special. I need to feel proud of myself. I have high standards and I live by them. I evaluate myself as compared to others. I need to be heard, and sometimes “heard” to me, means being obeyed.


I constantly ask myself whether people respect me and admire me. I’m watchful to correct any signs of lack of respect. I need to feel that I make a difference in any situation. I’m disciplined, competitive, and I can be a perfectionist.


If my sense of significance is tied to my appearance, endurance and strength, I will do whatever it takes to stay fit and healthy. I may injure myself by overdoing it while exercising or practicing a sport.

What You Avoid

I avoid people who don’t admire me or treat me with respect. I avoid situations where I can’t feel that I’m very important. I don’t tolerate rejection. I will do anything to avoid being over shadowed by others. I hate losing face.


I work hard and strive to deserve the respect and admiration I crave. I’m willing to take responsibility to the point of self-sacrifice. I’m relentless in accomplishing my goals. I’m a leader. I stand up for what I believe in. I’m not afraid of risk or confrontation.

Communication Style

I often talk about my accomplishments, my sacrifices, my intelligence, my strengths and my attractiveness. I can be seen as overriding others’ view. Some of the words that I frequently use are: pride, importance, standards, achievement, performance, perfection, evaluation, discipline, competition and rejection.


I am stressed when I feel that I’m not living up to my standards. Not being respected and heard stresses me out, as well as feeling that I’m not a leader. I feel pressure to achieve prestige, power and status. I’m stressed from doing too much and from not being in touch with my values.


I get defensive at the slightest criticism and when people tell me what to do. Anything that implies that I’m a follower, instead of a leader, puts me on the defensive.


I experience despair, anger and rage when I’m not living up to my standards and not accomplishing my goals. I can get angry when people disagree with my values, beliefs and leadership. I can be impatient and irritable.


My goal is to be loved for who I am, not because of my accomplishments or because of the respect and admiration of others. I need to learn to value love and connection more than respect and admiration. I need to learn to be humble and practice patience. I need to notice when my standards are too high. I need to self-sacrifice less and love myself more.

What To Do

I need to get involved in experiences where I won’t get any admiration or special respect. I need to work less and love myself more. I need to indulge in pleasurable experiences just for the sake of pleasure. I need to relax. I need to pay attention to feelings and relationships.

What Interferes With Your Goal

My constant need to feel special, important and a leader, interfere with my goal. The high standards I hold myself to, and my willingness to sacrifice interfere with my goal.

How Others Can Support You in Your Goal

Others can help me with my goal by introducing me to interesting, challenging or fun experiences at which I’m not an expert. They can reassure me that they love me for who I am and not for my accomplishments. They can remind me to slow down and encourage me to work less and play more.