Our needs change through our different life stages as we grow and mature. The needs we have as children or teens should develop with us as we get older. Our awareness of our different needs will help us not to go to the wrong places to have them fulfilled. For example, when we think we can satisfy our real hunger for good food with just snacks, we’ve gone to the wrong place. In the same way, we must see in what ways we may be going to inappropriate places to satisfy our real need for love and touch.
How then do we choose our way through a day? What causes us to select certain things and to avoid others? Often our choices are based on our feelings. We may choose something because we’re at home with it, or we may seek novelty with friends, food, and clothes, sometimes asking an ‘expert’ to help us choose what’s ‘good’. We may choose something different in reaction to a previous bad experience. Do we take risks or opt for choices which show our need for security and control?
How do we choose in the area of our ego needs – our need to be accepted, acceptable, to be admired, and to have power? How has our life story shaped us to influence what we look to in order to have our needs met? We may, for example, have been brought up very strictly and now veer on the side of liberal values, or we may react against having been poor and chase wealth, thinking it will give us status and freedom. How do we meet our need for survival – to be safe?
Underneath these layers of needs our core needs are at work. These are needs to be seen for who we are, to be loved, accepted and our deep need for touch and for beauty. When these are fulfilled, that inner ache is met, and we love and accept ourselves in a healthy way, our other periphery needs will fall into place. However, if they are not met, we’re in a very vulnerable position to be exploited or to exploit because we all so desperately need affirmation.
Interestingly, in Cuba there are apparently few adverts, and women tend to accept themselves and each other for whatever shape or size they are. In our experience, countless problems arise from people feeling inadequate according to the external ideals. We all need people as examples to us who choose to walk free of what’s distorted in our society.
Today, as our life unfolds, we have a choice. Either we can gloss over our needs and remain in contexts which enabled life in the past, or we can probe our life for signs of our core needs, and seek to nurture these appropriately. We can learn to move from one life stage to another well, adjusting the parameters to deepen our reality, becoming fully human.