Why Call Them “Life-Needs”?

If you’re familiar with Nonviolent/Compassionate Communication, you know the word “needs” is used a lot, but not defined.

Certainly “needs” is a word we all use and hear in everyday communication.

In American culture, I notice that “needs” tend to be something we don’t want to have, because having needs supposedly makes us vulnerable, weak, or “needy” — all of which our culture frowns upon.

As a society we’re also not that clear about what distinguishes “wants” from “needs.”  We know that “wants” are optional, and we know we have to have some kind of food, air, water, etc. in order to not die …

but when our culture seems to tell us we shouldn’t “need” anything beyond what’s required for basic survival, the difference between what NVC calls “needs” and what we mean by “wants” starts to get confusing.

That’s why I like to use the term “life-needs” — to clear away all this confusion.


Life-Needs Are Pathways To THRIVING

Life-needs are pathways to thriving.  Each species* has a different set of life-needs that, when met, universally result in the highest levels of health, vitality, well-being, and resilience for the members of that species.

When life-needs aren’t meet, we can see negative changes in neurological, physical, emotional, mental, social, and sexual functioning.

Meeting life-needs is not optional; they must be met on every level, for us to be and remain healthy.

All human beings share the same life-needs, a few of which include:

  • physical safety and sustenance (including clean air, water, and food; a way to regular our body temperature; sleep; movement; and touch)
  • connection and belonging
  • compassion and respect; shared humanity
  • power, the ability to influence our experience and environment
  • autonomy, freedom, choice
  • etc.

“Stress” is what we experience when are life-needs aren’t met.  The American Medical Association and many other organizations have verified that stress is the #1 cause of disease and death.

Download the full list of 12 Essential Life-Needs* here –>>>






* It may be that genii or even families (the 2 next higher taxonomic classifications) also share pathways to thriving. Please contact me if you’d like to offer your expertise to clarify this!


 852 total views,  1 views today