As human beings, we have various needs, and these needs must be met. These needs are called the ‘givens’ of human nature. Whenever our emotional needs are not met, or when our resources are being used incorrectly, we suffer considerable distress. And so can those around us.
The Human Givens are the needs and resources that all human beings are born with. They include our essential biological and emotional needs and all the innate resources that have evolved in humans to help us get these needs met. When we use our innate resources correctly this enables us to get our needs met, thus allowing for a happy and productive quality of life. It is a law of Nature that, if we are getting our innate needs met in a balanced way, we cannot become stressed or develop mental illness.
- The need for security
- The need for intimacy and friendship
- The need to give and receive attention
- The need for a sense of autonomy and control
- The need to feel competent (status)
- The need to feel connected to others and be part of a wider community
- The need for privacy
- The need for a sense of meaning and purpose (a sense that life is meaningful, which comes from being healthily stretched in our lives).
- A rational as well as an emotional brain
- The ability to learn
- Memory and the ability to forget
- Our ability to problem solve
- Understanding through metaphor and stories
Emotional distress can occur if our essential needs are not being met and/or our innate resources have been damaged or are being misused, and can manifest as depression, addictive and compulsive behaviour, eating disorders, anxieties and phobias.