The Primal Struggle and Human Needs

human needs Jul 03, 2023


All humans, regardless of age, gender, and culture, have the same core needs. We are all motivated toward a desire for needs fulfillment. The primal struggle represents the tension (without negative or positive connotations) that arises as we navigate life, attempting to satiate our needs and express our emotions. Thus, the story of our lives revolves around how our needs are met, unmet, or frustrated. Understanding this concept is one of the most important keys to unlocking humanity’s unlimited potential.

There is no greater tool to sharpen than:

  • understanding our needs (both conscious and subconscious)
  • self-fulfilling our needs (sometimes referred to as self-parenting)
  • communicating and expressing our needs
  • receiving needs from others and understanding the universal spiritual principle, giving is receiving
  • understanding the needs of others
  • creating a growth environment for others to understand, self-fulfill, communicate, receive, and nourish their own needs


As you look at the ego/basic and soul-based needs below, ask yourself:

 Is this need met?

Is this need unmet?

 Is this need being frustrated?

✔ How can I self-fulfill this need?

✔ How can I communicate or express this need? 

✔ How can I receive this need from others?

 Summary: How can I meet or satiate this need in a more nourishing way? (e.g., instead of overeating as a strategy to deal with loneliness or a relational issue)

 Summary: How can I meet or satiate this need in order to live a life by design in accordance with who and what is most important to me?


Ego or Basic Needs

  •  Physiological: food (hunger), water (thirst), air, movement
  •  Survival: protection from harm and threat
  •  Sexuality, sensuality, and the primal creation or creative energies
  •  Polarities between certainty and uncertainty
    •  Certainty: safety, security, order, comfort, clarity, structure, predictability, and clear boundaries
    •  Uncertainty: variety, unpredictability, risk, adventure, novelty, mystery, and wonder
  •  Polarities between pleasure and pain (emotional needs)
    •  Pleasure: the experience and expression of the so-called positive states, feelings, and emotions such as joy, happiness, and play (Play is defined in the psychological literature as a physical or mental leisure activity that is undertaken purely for enjoyment or amusement and has no other objective meaning–an activity where means are more valued than ends.)
    •  Pain: the experience and expression of so-called negative states, feelings, and emotions such as discomfort, anger, and sadness
  •  Polarities between the individual and collective
    •  Individual: consists of the needs for personal power (control, agency, freedom, autonomy, and linked with the need for certainty), self-esteem (need to stand out and to be valued or accepted by others, to feel significant, to achieve mastery or competency, to creatively express oneself, to speak one’s truth, to communicate for recognition, status, and prestige), and cognitive (need for knowledge, learning, and understanding)
    •  Collective: love and belongingness or the need to fit in


Soul or Meta Needs (Self-Actualization and Self-Transcendence)

  • Growth and evolution is the need to express, grow, evolve, and actualize our potential on all dimensions (PERMS).
  • Transcendence and communion is the need for union, unity, to transcend past our self-identity, and to connect with something greater than oneself, with nature (biophilia), animals, other humans, art, and beauty. These needs also includes the peak mystical states of consciousness that arise when the subject (you) and object (everything else) merge to become one.
  • Contribution is the need to serve and give oneself to something greater than oneself. This selfless service often arises as a natural epiphenomenon of transcendence, communion, and higher cognitive development stages that shift our center of gravity to the I to We As this need is fulfilled, there is an inherent understanding and embodiment of the universal laws; giving is receiving, and doing good is good for you.
  • Self-actualizing and self-transcendent love is the need for unconditional love, inner peace, and the transcendence and transmutation of fear.
  • Wisdom is the need to transform knowledge, emotions, thoughts, feelings, past experiences, the future, and the present moment into greater levels of meaning, purpose, and understanding. This need includes living a values-driven life, following one’s individual calling, and moving in the direction of who and what’s most important. Wisdom can be summarized as self-awareness for self-management.
  • Self-realization is the need for authenticity, the need to dismantle our persona, attachments, identifications, shadows, masks, roles, jobs, societal conformities to reveal the essence of who we really are—the I am, the higher Self.
  •  Integration (transcend and include) is the need to merge Heaven (physical, emotional, relational, and mental) and Earth (spiritual), allowing our eyes to see the sacred in the ordinary. It’s learning to live in and through all the dimensions—a full chakra experience. Integration resolves and holds dichotomies and polarities with acceptance and awareness (past and future, communion and personal power, being and doing, equality and freedom, and transcendent peak mystical experiences with the daily tasks of living).