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9 Emotional Needs We All Have

An emotional need is a state or condition that must be fulfilled in order for us to experience happiness and peace.

When our emotional needs are met and responded to appropriately, they keep us in balance and we feel fulfilled, at ease and connected. They are essential to a healthy lifestyle. When they aren’t addressed we may feel frustrated, hurt, anxious, or dissatisfied.


Below are the 9 basic emotional needs:

  • Belonging: Belonging comes from knowing that we have a purpose or meaning in our lives. Meaning can come from having a connection with our family, building a business or a career, or having a really supportive community. Our brains are social organs that function with the purpose of feeling connected to something greater than ourselves. This basic need allows us to give way to something other than our own personal desires, growing the experience of satisfied intention.


  • Safety: Safety comes from being in an environment where we can put down our defenses and be our authentic self. This means that when we are safe our body can be in a parasympathetic state where we are more able to connect to ourselves and the people around us.


  • Privacy or Me time: Today we live in a very fast-paced, always-connected lifestyle. This can really be a lot for our nervous system. Me time is really having privacy, time, and space to just be in quiet with yourself. It's essential to take time and space to decompress on a regular basis. To live a balanced lifestyle, humans require time and space to reflect on and learn from our experiences.

Me time

  • Autonomy: The easiest way to think of autonomy is that we have a say in our own lives. We get to choose our own values and how we exist in the world and feel confident in our independence and ability to complete tasks. This gives us self-confidence, self-trust, and resilience.


  • Intimacy: We are deeply social creatures and connection to other people is one of the most important needs we have. Emotional intimacy means someone else is attuned to us, interested in how we feel, and values the connection they have with us. In short, we're seen and appreciated for who we are, not what we can do for another person. Emotional intimacy is the deep understanding that we are accepted for who we are.


  • Challenge and growth: We grow through challenge. When we have something we are working towards, we have an opportunity to solve problems, create, and learn to trust ourselves. All of these things bring confidence and deeper levels of resilience.


  • Self-connection: Just as we have a deep need to be connected to other people, we also have a deep need to be connected to ourselves. A major part of this is having self-awareness of our own behaviors, thoughts, and reactions. This also includes our ability to self-soothe or to calm ourselves after stressful situations.


  • Attention: Giving and receiving quality contact with others, as well as with yourself, is core to feeling valued. This contact may be in the form of affection or validation, or it can even be as simple as an acknowledgment of purposeful existence.


  • Emotional validation: Emotional validation is all about recognizing, understanding, and expressing acceptance of another person's or self feelings. By doing this, you're creating space for that person or oneself to experience these emotions and process things without fear of judgment or rejection. You make them or yourself feel like their feelings matter. Taking the time to notice and show understanding of your feelings (validation) is a foundation for mental wellbeing. When we validate ourselves, we show understanding and recognize that our thoughts, feelings, and urges make sense. They might not be nice. They might not feel appropriate. They might be uncomfortable. But, we need to feel free to express our emotions without being punished, rejected or invalidated. It helps to understand our thoughts and feelings – to validate them – rather than judging them or immediately looking for solutions.


Emotional nourishment is necessary for humans to be able to function wholly.


It allows us to peacefully exist, and operate within a family, a group, and a community. When factors in our lives block our ability to have these needs met, we suffer considerable distress. Therefore, it’s important to recognize which emotional needs aren’t being met and to take action to meet them


Are (most) of your emotional needs being met right now?

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