Human Needs, Happiness and Wellbeing

According to Abraham Maslow, there are two kinds of human needs: deficiency needs and growth needs. Within the first category, you find physiological, security, social, and esteem needs. They are called deficiency needs because they emerge from deprivation. The second category of needs emerge from a person’s desire to grow, or in other words a need for self-actualisation.

PhysiologicalFood, Water, Breathing, Homeostasis, Shelter, Clothing, Reproduction
SecurityFinancial security, Health and Wellness, Safety against accidents and injury
SocialFriendships, Romantic attachments, Family, Social groups, Community groups, Churches and religious organisations
EsteemAppreciation and respect, Self-esteem and personal growth, Accomplishments
Self-actualisationDevelopment and use of potential, talents, capabilities
These needs integrate the so called Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory of Human Motivation.

It is also possible to divide human needs into three groups: basic needs (physiological + security), psychological needs (social + esteem) and self-actualisation needs. Each Enneagram Personality Types value or prioritise these needs in a unique way. If I speak from my Fourness, Esteem and Self-actualisation needs are two major driving forces.

From a personality integration perspective though, I must pay attention to my other needs as a human being so that I can reach a higher level of self-actualisation. For instances, how am I going to operate in the world without being safe or able to financially support myself? Can I really walk around without clothes? And am I truly ok if I’m in physical pain?

Each group of needs plays a role in our wellbeing. Without love and acceptance from others, we may face loneliness, depression, and anxiety. Without respect and appreciation, we may feel demotivated and gloomy. Opposite to what some people might think, there isn’t a group of needs that is more important or relevant than all the others. Survival or basic needs are not more important than psychological or self-actualisation needs, and vice-versa.

Such conception might have been useful to live in the previous era, but it’s not useful for human survival in the future. We can no longer thrive in duality, since that means putting one kind of needs over the others. That’s why depression, anxiety and other stress-related problems have increased so much over the last decades. There was no place for integration and we need that to fully function as human beings. Our happiness and wellbeing depend on it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s