The 6 Basic Human Needs of Personal Development: Are Yours Being Met?

By Dominica


Last Updated: May 21, 2022

According to personal development experts, there are six basic human needs that humans desire.

Whether we realize it or not, all of our actions are based upon these needs. Whatever it is you are doing, you’re doing it to get some sort of human need met. 

For example, if you’re working a job, you’re earning money. But why do we need money?

Well, there are many reasons we think we need or want money. However, at the very core needs level, we earn money so we can provide our basic needs of shelter, food, and clothing. 

Granted, some that live in third world countries can provide themselves these things without money, such as building in a hut. However, they’re still trying to satiate the need for shelter.

The following are six basic human needs. There may be more, but these are the ones generally agreed upon as the most basic and common around the world.



6 Basic Human Needs in Personal Development

1. Certainty/Comfort

I don’t know about you, but I desire to feel some certainty and comfort along my life journey. This brings me to one of our basic needs: Certainty.

We all desire comfort and certainty in some form or fashion. We want to be able to meet our basic needs of shelter, and food. All of us want to know the sun will rise tomorrow, the paycheck will come, the heater will continue to work, etc.

Not getting this need met can cause us to feel anxiety, fear, and so on.


2. Variety

The second human need we’ll explore is variety. Sure, we want certainty, but we also want variety.  We do like some adventure and to mix things up from time to time.

For example, I enjoy knowing for certain that I have a home to live in. However, I enjoy a variety of living situations, so I like to travel. Or, in the past, I’ve relocated because I desired something different.

Do you like or seek out variety?


3. Significance

We all want to feel significant in some way. It’s part of human nature. Of course, some want to feel more significant than others and that can lead people into some trouble down the road.

  • Don’t you want to feel significant in your partner or spouse’s eyes? 
  • Do you want to feel significant as a human being on this planet?

If so, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. We all do. We all want life to have meaning and significance.


4. Connection/Love

As humans, we are wired for connection. Even if you’re an introvert, you likely desire to be part of a community, family, or friendship group. We all long for connection and love. Feeling unloved is a disheartening complaint among the population.

Do you feel that your needs for connection and love are being met? If not, what can you do to cultivate more meaningful connections with people? What is that that helps you feel loved?


5. Growth

We all have a need to expand and grow. This is one reason you’ll see children so curious. They want to learn, experiment, and grow. There are many ways we can grow, too. There’s mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual growth – just to name a few.

Some people may not think they’re growing, but it’s likely they are. Deep down, most people want to become better, be challenged to grow, and excel in some areas of life.


6. Contribution

We desire to add value to humanity in some way, shape, or form. You’ve heard the phrase, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Doesn’t it feel good to contribute? Adding value to others is a basic human need that can help us to feel more meaningful and purposeful. 

Are you contributing value to others? If so, who? Would you like to add more value? If so, how?



Facing Up to Not Having Your Needs Met 

By being aware of these needs, we can begin to fulfill them in positive ways and grow in personal development. 

People try to meet these needs in a variety of ways, and some are positive and some are negative. Positive ways will lead to more pleasure and negative ways are likely to lead to pain.

I remember once at a Tony Robbins seminar, a woman stood up and told him about her problem marriage. She was very angry with her husband and carried around much resentment and baggage. 

Tony immediately addressed her anger and got her to see that a great deal of her anger that she attributed toward her husband was really due to her mother abandoning her as a child and her father raping her. 

Her basic needs of love and significance went unmet, and she became a hostile woman who blamed others instead of dealing with the anger and allowing that wound to heal.

Tony counseled this woman and her husband, and it was incredible to see. She was cold, hurt, angry, bitter, etc. and those negative emotions played a big part in her troubled marriage. She would not open her heart to her husband, as she could not trust. 

He ended up withdrawing emotionally, as so many people do when their partners go on and on about how unhappy they are. He could not fix her, and he got tired of trying.

Tony helped her see that her anger came from hurt from childhood wounds and with help, she could redefine that anger and channel it into positive emotions.  Tony helped them both understand the importance of learning how to communicate needs in a relationship.



Trying vs. Doing 

One thing in particular Tony discussed was the concept of “trying” to work on an issue. 

Tony told that same woman to try to pick up her chair. She picked it up. He said, “No. I told you to try. You picked it up. Try to pick it up.”  She got angry and was confused. How do you “try” to pick a chair up? 

The point he wanted her to see was that she was “trying” to be right in the relationship, not making a conscious decision to do what it takes to change her – no matter how difficult.

How many of us “try” to work on an issue, but don’t really get anywhere because we don’t REALLY want to change? A firm commitment to actually do what it takes to change will bring relief and a new perspective.

We don’t always like facing selfishness or insecurities, but if we want to grow, we must.

Take a look at those basic needs again.

If you are having conflict in your life, see which needs are not being met and address them. 

  • You don’t feel loved? 
  • Significant? 

Address it.

  • Not contributing to humanity? 
  • Living in selfishness?
  • Anger?
  • Resentment?

Address it. 

Don’t stay in that prison of negativity. You are worthy of freedom and love.

Need help? Sit down with a friend, counselor, or therapist. Life is too short to be unhappy. Live it to the fullest!

Photo by Anna Shvets



3 comments on “The 6 Basic Human Needs of Personal Development: Are Yours Being Met?”

  1. I am always encouraged reading DM. Keep up the writings. It's helpful in more ways than you can imagine. It boasts me anyway with new perspective of life in general. Very appreciative.

  2. I feel sometimes like the writers of DM have been spying on me because the DM's are always so spot on what I needed to hear at that moment. It seems always to be so in tune with my life. It's a little scary how accurate the messages are some times! Are you guys spying on me?!? Lol ;D

    1. Hahah no we would never do that Pamela! But we are happy to hear we are so on top of things. Many of us need to hear these messages right now, and encourage each other, like you are! Thank you for your comments!

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