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What are the Human Givens?

For all living organisms to survive, they must take nourishment from the environment to continually maintain and rebuild themselves. Like all animals we all have physical needs; the need to eat when we are hungry, the need to drink when we are thirsty, the need to sleep when we are tired and the need for warmth and shelter. These are basic needs which enable us to survive in our environment, but we also have emotional needs too. 


These emotional needs are vital for us to stay mentally healthy. It is when these needs are not met in balance, that we can fall victim to feelings of anxiety, depression, anger, addiction or even psychotic breakdown.

Our Emotional Needs:

We have 9 emotional needs and these are:

  • A sense of SECURITY - somewhere we can feel safe.

  • A need for ATTENTION not only to receive but giving it to others.

  • A sense of AUTONOMY and CONTROL.

  • A sense of COMPETENCY and ACHIEVEMENT so we know we are good at things.

  • A sense of COMMUNITY being part of wider connections other than close family.

  • A sense of STATUS so we can feel good about ourselves and how others see us.

  • A need for PRIVACY so we can reflect on things.

  • A need for INTIMACY - this doesn't have to mean a sexual relationship but just someone who will accept you for you, (warts and all!)

  • And a sense of MEANING and PURPOSE so we can stretch ourselves and be challenged.

How well our needs are met in the world helps to form the different parts of our personality and character, our physical and emotional development, our interaction with others and also our life achievements. So in order for us to get these needs met, Nature also provided us with an abundance of "Innate Resources" to help us along the way.  

Our Innate Resources are:

  • The ability to develop complex LONG TERM MEMORY helping us to add to our innate knowledge and learn.

  • The ability to BUILD RAPPORT enabling us to empathise and connect with others.


  • IMAGINATION, helping us to focus our attention away from our emotions so we can solve problems more objectively.

  • A RATIONAL MIND to check out our emotions, helping us to question, analyse and plan our lives (located in our left hemisphere).

  • The ability to KNOW, so that we can understand the world through our unconscious mind by metaphorical pattern matching (located in our right hemisphere).

  • We have an OBSERVING SELF - this enables us to take a step back into our self awareness and look at things more objectively.

  • A DREAMING BRAIN which helps us to defuse our emotional expectations which we have not been able to act out in our environment from the previous day. 

To find out more about the Human Givens, please visit the Human Givens Institute website by click the following link:

"People are affected by things in accordance with their mental and emotional set."

Jalaluddin Rumi


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