What are Your Basic Emotional Needs and How Can You Fulfill Them?

As humans, we have emotional needs. That might sound pretty straight forward but a lot of times we aren't really aware of what ours are. When we understand our emotional needs, can communicate them, and also figure out how to get these needs met (either alone or with other people), we have a better sense of contentment in our lives. In this article, I want to discuss some of the basic needs are and let you see where these show up in your life ....

What are Your Basic Emotional Needs and How Can You Fulfill Them?

As humans, we have emotional needs. That might sound pretty straight forward but a lot of times we aren't really aware of what ours are. When we understand our emotional needs, can communicate them, and also figure out how to get these needs met (either alone or with other people), we have a better sense of contentment in our lives. When we are able to meet our emotional needs in the right way, they help us keep our things in balance. What’s more, understanding and meeting our own needs is important for us to lead an emotionally healthy lifestyle.

When these needs are not met, we experience dissatisfaction, resentment and hurt when our needs are not met.

In this article, I want to discuss some of the basic needs are and let you see where these show up in your life ....

Our Basic Needs

Having a Sense of Meaning

Photo: Mohamed Nohassi

We all have a coherent belief set affixed in our minds that shows us the purpose of life and its meaning. All humans come with a core set of different values, and at the minimum, there is one that helps us guide through our purpose in life. When we are able to find the “Why” in life and existence, we are able to meet this basic need. Not having met this need can lead to constant confusion, irritation, and dismay about life and its purpose. 

"If my life is going to mean anything, I have to live it myself." — Rick Riordan (The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1))

How to Meet this Need?

Things that help you look into yourself and your values will help bring self-awareness and awareness of everything around you. For example, you can try mindfulness through meditation to feel more in connection with yourself. Also, learn to identify the here and now experiences as well as body awareness which is important for reconnection with a sense of meaning. What are your passions? Do you have hobbies or interests that give you a sense of purpose and enjoyment? If not, what could you do to change this?

Some spiritual practices and yoga can also help with sense of meaning, serenity, and presence. 

Having a Sense of Security

Everyone needs some sense of security, be it physical, emotional, or spiritual, that will enable a person to carry on their activities without getting into fear. We all have the right to have safe spaces where we can prosper and nourish with no threat associated with us. 

How to Meet This Need?

Look around in your life, how secure do you feel in different areas. How do you currently operate to keep a sense of security in your life? Once you're able to point them out, try jotting down practical steps you can take to alleviate or change those triggers. 

Are there areas in which your need for security is actually holding you back? 

Having Privacy 

All humans need space and time to reflect on themselves and learn from their experiences. This privacy is very much important as it helps individuals to decompress, resolve, and grow from everything they feel and face. People have different expectations for privacy so it's important to communicate these needs without making assumptions in order to keep trust in your relationships.

How to Meet this Need?

What areas of your life are you currently happy with in terms of your privacy, personal space, or time? Are there any that you'd need to adjust to feel better? 

The Right of Volition

Photo: Rowan Kyle

We all require the independence to grow and have the power in our hands to choose the way we exist. Living autonomously is the very goal for every healthy individual to strive for. 

"This is one of man's oldest riddles. How can the independence of human volition be harmonized with the fact that we are integral parts of a universe which is subject to the rigid order of nature's laws?" — Max Planck (Where is Science Going?)

How to Meet this Need?

Pay attention to what triggers your need for control over things and what makes you feel overly dependent. Create some assertive situations to set healthy boundaries with people where you feel you need to. Practice with small steps. Are there people you need to be more clear with in your life, more time you need for yourself, or more space?

Need for Attention

Receiving and giving attention to quality with people and yourself is how you attain the feeling of value. The quality contact might get in the validation forum, or it might be experienced as the prime realization of your purpose for living. 

How to Meet the Need?

Try forming a connection with people who are of importance to you that includes yourself as well. It will help you see what you need to get for healthy attention. After that, you need to make priorities into forming real and purposeful interactions with your family, friends, and colleagues. Where do you need attention? Where can you meet this yourself and when can you get this emotional need met with others?

Need for Intimacy 

Photo: Amy Humphries

Humans like to spend their time with other people. Not being able to have others around for a long time leads to dissociation and loneliness. Therefore, it is important that you form a healthy connection with other people and feel accepted. 

How to Meet the Need?

Analyze if you feel dissociated or lonely in relationships, and see the areas where you need to work on your intimacy. Try sharing your desires, dreams, and hopes with people around you. Learn to be vulnerable and communicate your needs while understanding which needs are your responsibility and which ones you can request from others. 

Establishing Connection with Community

It is important to seek connection with something bigger than yourself as it develops purpose in life. It allows us to move beyond our desires and do something meaningful. When we feel that we have an important role in a structure, we feel fulfilled. It doesn’t have to be a position of leadership, but it is about being able to realize your unique status in a community. 

How to Meet this Need?

Try giving back to your community. You can mentor someone or volunteer. You can also raise funds. Being an expat can feel isolating at times, so try joining activities or meetups, networking events with new people so you can also branch out.

Photo: Stéphan Valentin

Creating Sense of Self

You also need to recognize your place all by yourself as well as in a group. It's important to know who we are without trying to be what everyone else wants us to be or what society wants us to be.

There is an important quote that says, "if you stand for nothing, then you'll fall for anything."

At the end of the day, no one can take away your sense of self if it's rock solid. You could lose everything but you'll still have your sense of self and your beliefs and ideas. Want to understand more about self-awareness? Read more here.

How to Meet this Need?

Try understanding what makes you stand out from the rest. Jot down a list of things you'd like to be known for and the things you value. What does it mean to be you? What makes you unique? What is your purpose in life? 

Practice taking some time for yourself and doing things alone. If you can't enjoy your own company how can you expect anyone else to? 

Gaining Sense of Achievement

We need to have a goal and a mission for which we want to work. Once we are able to create, imagine, analyze, and identify the things, we are better able to see what holds better meaning for us. Not being able to achieve something may lead us to develop things like laziness and demotivation. 

How to Meet this Need?

List all accomplishments, big and small, and that includes academic, career-wise, and personal health achievements. Increase overall awareness of your achievements, so you don’t undermine yourself. Celebrate yourself and the things you have done in your life. Don't compare yourself to others because it's a losing game!

Everyone comes with a varying degree of different emotional needs. For example, a person who is sensitive might require more privacy than others in order to refuel themselves. Other differences than nature include our genetic predisposition, the way our childhood was spent, our sense of identification, culture, and different factors.

Are you curious to understand your emotional needs better? This is just one topic available in my coaching programs to help you overcome emotional blocks and get more fulfillment in your life. Do you constantly feel you're taken advantage of? Are you constantly resentful? If so, there's a good chance you're not getting your emotional needs met or you're not communicating or enforcing boundaries around them in your life.

Interested to know how transformational life coaching and EFT Tapping could help you? Book a free discovery call with me here today! 


I am a supportive motivator as a coach, and I've always loved being around people from all over the world. I'm a transformational life coach in Munich, Germany offering online coaching sessions and happy to help you reach your goals for a richer, more fulfilling life. Likewise, I help people understand gain self awareness so they can figure out what's keeping them stuck, which limiting beliefs hold them back, or what emotional meets are not getting met so they can understand how to create better boundaries and standards in their relationships. In particular, I can help you when you're at that point of saying 'Enough!' - I want something better!

I'm an accredited transformational life coach from Animas Centre for Coaching UK  and a member of the International Coaching Federation. I'm also a Level 2 practitioner in EFT Tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique) and a member of AEFTP (Association of Emotional Freedom Technique Professionals). If you're interested in booking a free 15 minute discovery call for transformational life coaching, EFT Tapping, or SRT coaching, book here. 






header image: Tim Marshall

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