Core Needs

Most human behavior (and its motivation) is unconscious and automatic. Far more than most people realize regarding what we think, feel, and do is related in one way or another to survival, (sexual) reproduction, or both. Key areas of life are health, money, and love (relationships). Beauty, sex, social status, and all almost everything else in life is ultimately an expression of needs that many people are not even aware they have.

While men and women have more in common than they have differences, it is their differences that attract them to each other – and sometimes create misunderstandings. While BOTH are ultimately seeking (to give and receive) LOVE, men and women have different “core needs” (from each other in relationships).

Men seek VALIDATION and need:

    1. to be “NEEDED”
    2. to be ACCEPTED
    3. to be APPRECIATED
    4. to be VALUED
    (especially by women in their lives)

Women seek to be CHERISHED and need:

    3. CARING
    (especially from men in their lives)

and Compatibility can help, but for a relationships to last, it needs Communication and Commitment

According to John Gray, there are 12 primary emotional needs, 6 for men and 6 for women.

Men (from Mars) need:

    1. Trust
    2. Acceptance
    3. Appreciation
    4. Admiration
    5. Approval
    6. Encouragement

Women (from Venus) need:

    1. Caring
    2. Understanding
    3. Respect
    4. Devotion
    5. Validation
    6. Reassurance

According to Anthony Robbins, “we are all driven by the need to fulfill six humans needs basically. These 6 basic human needs are not just desires or wants, but profound needs which serve as the basis of every choice we make”.

    1. Certainty – Security, comfort and consistency
    2. Uncertainty – Variety, challenges, and
    3. Significance – Feeling important, needed, wanted and worthy of love
    4. Love and Connection – Feeling connected with and loved by other human beings.
    5. Growth – Constant development emotionally, intellectually and spiritually
    6. Contribution – Giving beyond ourselves and giving to others.

Core Need Description Anchors
Certainty Order, control, security Avoiding pain and fear
Variety Chaos, adventure, novelty Pleasure, freedom
Significance Individuality, importance, ego Self worth, judgments
Connection Communion, approval, attachment Receiving love
Growth Learning, spiritual development Evolution
Contribution Service, surrender, care Giving love

Based on how we live our lives, most of us prioritize one or two of these needs above all others.

Core Needs and Motivations
Empatic Blue:

    Blues need meaning and significance. They are measuring everything against the greater good. They are searching for their own unique identity always asking the question: Who am I?

Dependable Gold:

    Golds need to belong and have membership in society’s main groups: family, community, religious affiliations, service clubs, and their work role. They need to take responsibility and do their duty, often taking on too much at a time.

Analyzing Greens:

    Greens need mastery and self-control. Whatever they put their minds to they will not stop until they have conquered it. A desire for knowledge and competence drives them.

Action Orange:

    Oranges want freedom to act on their impulses. Whenever they are moved to do something they want to be able to do it. They trust their impulses as they have found them valuable in the past.

Physiological needs
For the most part, physiological needs are obvious — they are the literal requirements for human survival. If these requirements are not met, the human body simply cannot continue to function.

Air, water, and food are metabolic requirements for survival in all animals, including humans. Clothing and shelter provide necessary protection from the elements. The intensity of the human sexual instinct is shaped more by sexual competition than maintaining a birth rate adequate to survival of the species.

Safety needs
With their physical needs relatively satisfied, the individual’s safety needs take precedence and dominate behavior. In the absence of physical safety – due to war, natural disaster, or, in cases of family violence, childhood abuse, etc. – people (re-)experience post-traumatic stress disorder and trans-generational trauma transfer. In the absence of economic safety – due to economic crisis and lack of work opportunities – these safety needs manifest themselves in such things as a preference for job security, grievance procedures for protecting the individual from unilateral authority, savings accounts, insurance policies, reasonable disability accommodations, and the like.

Safety and Security needs include:

    Personal security
    Financial security
    Health and well-being
    Safety net against accidents/illness and their adverse impacts

Love and belonging
After physiological and safety needs are fulfilled, the third layer of human needs are social and involve feelings of belonging. The need is especially strong in childhood and can over-ride the need for safety as witnessed in children who cling to abusive parents. Deficiencies with respect to this aspect of Maslow’s hierarchy – due to hospitalism, neglect, shunning, ostracism etc. – can impact individual’s ability to form and maintain emotionally significant relationships in general, such as:


Humans need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance, whether it comes from a large social group, such as clubs, office culture, religious groups, professional organizations, sports teams, gangs, or small social connections (family members, intimate partners, mentors, close colleagues, confidants). They need to love and be loved (sexually and non-sexually) by others. In the absence of these elements, many people become susceptible to loneliness, social anxiety, and clinical depression. This need for belonging can often overcome the physiological and security needs, depending on the strength of the peer pressure; an anorexic, for example, may ignore the need to eat and the security of health for a feeling of control and belonging.

All humans have a need to be respected and to have self-esteem and self-respect. Esteem presents the normal human desire to be accepted and valued by others. People need to engage themselves to gain recognition and have an activity or activities that give the person a sense of contribution, to feel self-valued, be it in a profession or hobby. Imbalances at this level can result in low self-esteem or an inferiority complex. People with low self-esteem need respect from others. They may seek fame or glory, which again depends on others. Many people with low self-esteem will not be able to improve their view of themselves simply by receiving fame, respect, and glory externally, but must first accept themselves internally. Psychological imbalances such as depression can also prevent one from obtaining self-esteem on both levels.

Most people have a need for a stable self-respect and self-esteem. Maslow noted two versions of esteem needs, a lower one and a higher one. The lower one is the need for the respect of others, the need for status, recognition, fame, prestige, and attention. The higher one is the need for self-respect, the need for strength, competence, mastery, self-confidence, independence and freedom. The latter one ranks higher because it rests more on inner competence won through experience. Deprivation of these needs can lead to an inferiority complex, weakness and helplessness.

Maslow also states that even though these are examples of how the quest for knowledge is separate from basic needs he warns that these “two hierarchies are interrelated rather than sharply separated”. This means that this level of need, as well as the next and highest level, are not strict, separate levels but closely related to others, and this is possibly the reason that these two levels of need are left out of most textbooks.

“What a man can be, he must be.” This forms the basis of the perceived need for self-actualization. This level of need pertains to what a person’s full potential is and realizing that potential. Maslow describes this desire as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming. This is a broad definition of the need for self-actualization, but when applied to individuals the need is specific. For example one individual may have the strong desire to become an ideal parent, in another it may be expressed athletically, and in another it may be expressed in painting, pictures, or inventions. In order to reach a clear understanding of this level of need one must first not only achieve the previous needs, physiological, safety, love, and esteem, but master these needs.

Viktor Frankl later added Self-transcendence to create his own version of Maslow’s Hierarchy.

An alternative view proposed by Manfred Max-Neef, rejects the “hierarchy” notion, choosing instead to focus on a constellation of universal needs that are integrative and additive. These include:

    Idleness (Relax)
    Subsistence (Survive)
    Freedom (Choose)
    Affection (Love)
    Identity (Belong)
    Protection (Protect)
    Understanding (Understand)
    Creation (Create)
    Participation (Stand Up)