The Human Givens Charter — A vision for good government

Our innate emotional needs

There is widespread agreement as to the nature of our emotional needs. The following are fundamental to mental health:

  • A sense of security — safe territory and an environment which allows us to relax and develop fully
  • Attention — a form of nutrition. To give and receive good quality attention fuels the healthy development of each individual, family and human group. It is also the means by which knowledge is passed on and cultures grow
  • Sense of autonomy and control — having volition to make responsible choices (When we feel out of control, especially of important elements of our lives, we become increasingly anxious and even depressed.)
  • Emotional intimacy — to know that at least one other person accepts us totally for who we are, “warts ‘n’ all”
  • Feeling part of a wider community – a sense of ‘belonging’
  • Sense of status within social groups – we need to feel valued by our peers
  • Sense of competence and achievement (which comes from successful learning and effectively applying skills – the antidote to ‘low self-esteem’)
  • Privacy — opportunity to reflect on life’s experiences and consolidate them
  • A sense of meaning and purpose — which comes from both being ‘stretched’ in what we do and think, and being needed.

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