Besides the physical, security, and survival needs vital to our humanity, every human being has psychological needs, which, if not met, threaten the person’s capability to actualise themselves. That is, where these psychological needs are not met the person in question may miss out on reaching their psychological potential. This is important not only for the person, but for all their loved ones, too. The psychologically healthy person cares for the psychological health of others. The opposite is also true.
That is our primary concern. Personal psychological health has a ripple impact into the family and out into the community. Four basic needs need to be met.
Every human being needs to be identified with, acknowledged, appreciated, and remembered.
1. The Need For Identification
Identity is the soul of each one of us. We build a self-concept and it is continually nurtured by our interactions with our world. How other people see us and treat us is feedback about our identities.
Perhaps our most innate psychological need is that of identity and identification in our world.
2. The Need To Be Acknowledged
Truth is incredibly important for us. Where people have transgressed us we can forgive if there is acknowledgement. Where there is no acknowledgement—no apology, remorse, or restitution—we find it palpably difficult to move on.
This is why National Days of Apology, and organisational apologies for the sins of past, are not only fair but they are necessary. Stolen generations are a good case in point. Child abuse in state care is another. The transgressed deserve the truth to be acknowledged.
Acknowledgement doesn’t make the wrongs right, but it acknowledges the truth of what took place. Each of us has the need for our truths to be validated.
3. The Need To Be Appreciated
Everybody desires pleasant and positive feedback. Where there is a void of reassuring recognition, especially where there are reminders of lack, people lose meaning, and purpose evaporates from their lives. Depression, in these circumstances, can be a natural progression.
On the other hand, when we are appreciated we are accepted. When we are appreciated our sense of identification is bolstered. Appreciation validates our identities, is its own acknowledgement, and it is also sound means for remembrance.
4. The Need To Be Remembered
Legacy is more important to most of us than we realise. We notice this most when we consider our loved ones who have departed. We look for what we can retain their memory by. We are saddened by the fact we can’t retain more. Existence is so limited, and, because of this, our legacy is ever more poignant.
A great gift we can give another person is to remember them. The wisest of people understand it is their legacy that will live on beyond them.
We have four core psychological needs: 1) to enjoy a safe identity; 2) to receive acknowledgement from our world; 3) to gain appreciation for what we do and for whom we are; and, 4) to be remembered for the good things we have done.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.
Acknowledgement: to Pastor Allan Thomas of Parkerville Baptist Church, Perth, Western Australia, for the fourfold structure I have used herein.