Unsatisfied Basic Needs And Addictive Behaviour

Throughout our lives, we have various requirements that must be met. These are our needs and desires, which range from basic physical needs to selfless desire. When any of these are not met, negative physical, mental, and emotional complications and addictions can result, sometimes with distressful consequences. This discussion is about needs.

A need is an explicit requirement, like feeling hungry and demanding to eat or seeking assurance when you feel unloved and insecure. Satisfying a need means that it has been gratified, relieved, and discharged. Once you feel satisfied, your attention easily turns to something else.

The following list of needs is built on the work of Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

  • Physical needs: Food, water, safety, shelter, health, basic comfort, and income.
  • Security: You feel secure when you feel wanted, accepted, loved, and supported by others, and are able to feel a sense of belonging.
  • Connection:  The drive to meaningfully relate, involve, give and receive, procreate and/or experience sexual fulfilment.
  • Self-esteem: You need confidence, competence, respect and power. When you feel approval, recognition and admiration from others, you naturally feel these for yourself and others. This develops the confidence needed to risk and strive. From competence and achievement, you develop assurance, poise, and power. Esteem in all these ways is preeminent to favorable development and behavior.
  • Integrity:  This results from fulfilling your agreements with yourself and others. Because you carefully consider possible consequences, you are discerning in your choices and are thereby able to trust yourself.

Satisfying basic needs is primary. Without doing so, you are distracted, out of balance, and out of peace. If numerous needs are unsatisfied, then your disturbances are complicated and magnified. Your daily activities and creative flow are biased and directed toward the satisfaction of your unmet need(s). Your focus is distracted and skewed, your life is entangled with problems, and your fulfilment will be forever compromised.

Since most people do not know how to address their unmet needs, they turn their attention to what seems easier.

And yet it never truly works because weakness arises. For example, a person becomes a great artist, yet never learns how to develop or maintain healthy intimate relationships. They over focus or become addicted to something else – something that detracts their attention, something that appears easier to achieve. Hence, you get workaholics, alcoholics, and drama addicts.

To satisfy basic needs, one must feel the insecurity that develops from its lack, then determine the best way to effectively address it. However, many people lack the requisite trust, strength, and method by which to do so. This inhibits healthy progress because they fear they will be weakened by admitting the lack; yet they will actually be strengthened.

The key is to identify the unsatisfied need that the negative behaviour attempts to satisfy. Next, replace that negative behaviour with a positive equivalent. For example, returning alone to her studio feeling the high of an exhibition, the great artist typically orders her favourite goodies, eats heartily, and grows larger. By determining that she never learned how to develop and maintain healthy relationships, she is able to decide how to begin developing satisfying relationships, even while touring.

Indeed, satisfying basic needs is necessary because it provides the foundation for all else to develop, and supports you to reach your optimum levels. Satisfying basic needs is fundamental to clarity, peace, and overall well-being, and supports your potential to be realized. 

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