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Human Emotional Needs

Here are some of the basic human emotional needs expressed as feelings. While all humans share these needs, each differs in the strength of the need, just as some of us need more water, more food or more sleep.

One person may need more freedom and independence, another may need more security and social connections. When a person's natural emotional needs are met, healthy behavior naturally follows. (See note below about children, adolescents and schools.)

In various degrees, each according to his or her own unique nature, we each have a natural emotional need to feel:

accepted
acknowledged
admired
appreciated
approved of
believed in
capable
challenged
clear (not confused)
competent
confident
forgiven
forgiving
free
fulfilled
heard
helped
helpful
important
in control
included
listened to
loved
needed
noticed
powerful
private
productive / useful
reassured
recognized
respected
safe / secure
supported
treated fairly
trusted
understanding
understood
valued
worthy

 


Core Topics

Respect | Empathy
Caring | Listening
Understanding

Free EQ for Everybody Book

Children, Adolescents and Schools

One problem in typical schools is the treatment of all students as if their emotional and psychological needs were identical. The result is many needs are unsatisfied. For example, one child, or adolescent, may have a greater curiosity and a greater need for understanding than is provided in traditional schools, while another is content to accept whatever is told to him.

Those with unmet emotional needs become frustrated, as any of us do when our needs are unmet. They can be expected to "act out" their frustration in various ways which are typically seen as "misbehavior." This is especially evident when children are expected to all do the same thing for the same length of time. The better we identify their unique needs and satisfy them, the fewer problems.

If a young person's emotional needs are significantly unmet, there is a much higher chance for them to have serious mental health problems, including depression and suicidal feelings, by the time they reach their teen years.

 

How this list was developed

This list was originally based on the work of Robert Myrick in his book, Caring and Sharing: Becoming a Peer Facilitator.

 
See also "Human Givens"