Basic Needs

Tom and I decided to make a list of the things humans need to feel healthy and whole. If these needs are not met, soul wounds can occur.

These needs are:

  •  Love — to be unconditionally accepted for who you are.
  • Security — to know that you will not by harmed or abandoned.
  • Safety — there will be no tissue damage, property damage, or soul damage.
  • Nurturance — you will have food, shelter, and clothing, and be hugged and touched appropriately and often.
  • Understanding — you can be who you are, understood for who you are, and loved for who you are.
  • Affirmation — to have your gifts and abilities recognized.
  • Connection — to belong and be a part of something that is greater than yourself.
  • Support — to have someone to help sustain you and hold you up, to have guidance and advice in life.
  • Significance — to feel special and important to someone and know that your needs and desires matter.


Now, we know that there are many more needs to be met in people such as challenge and creativity, but this list shows the deeper needs — the soul needs. These are the needs that are most likely to result in soul wounds if they are not met. Humans do not get these soul needs met when abandonment, abuse, and neglect occur. Some parents neglect these needs as an act of omission. The work-addicted father or the stoic mother may not intend to wound their children, but they do so by default. Some parents neglect the needs of their children by commission. The punitive, abusive, alcoholic father and the angry, sadistic mother are examples of this. Whatever the case, knowing what you need will greatly increase the likelihood of your getting those needs met now and resolving family conflict in a more healthy way.

One more reason people have learned to repress their needs is the fear that they will not get them met. Many people fear that they are being weak if they need something from someone. They believe that needlessness is noble or healthy. Because of this they do not want to be vulnerable enough to actually state what they need. Vulnerability can be scary, especially with those you love. What if I ask for what I need and you do not care enough to give it to me? you may think, of those closest to you. If you think this way, you are not alone. Unfortunately, it is a universal problem. It is human nature to resist meeting other’s needs as they resist yours. It’s no wonder we fear being vulnerable enough to state our needs!

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This is such a common problem that there’s a statement about it in the Soul-Healing Love model: “Requirement equals resistance.”

Requirement Equals Resistance

It is human nature that people tend to resist if you require something from them. People prefer choice rather than obligation. Requirement is seen as a form of constraint rather than an option. This concept is also taught in sales seminars. Sales people are encouraged to offer their customers choices so they have a better chance of getting a sale. Another common example is toddlers in a nursery. A two-year-old can pick up a toy and become easily disenchanted with it. He may quickly put it down and busily move to something else. But, if another toddler picks it up (requires it), you will see that first toddler scream with resistance. His original toy becomes his prized possession because someone else requires it.

Unfortunately, this notion plagues adults too. Let’s say that every day your neighbor, Ellie May, comes home before you do and brings your paper from the curb to your front porch. She does this by choice.What a nice gesture, you think. Then one day, you go over to Ellie May’s house and say, “Hey, Ellie, can you bring my paper in earlier today? I have the afternoon off and I want to read it.” Do you think that your good neighbor, Ellie, will ever bring in your paper again? Probably not! You took her choice away by requiring something and you can bet she will resist.

Families are just as guilty of this as toddlers in a nursery or hospitable neighbors. They can have every excuse in the world not to meet each other’s needs. Some may even be legitimate, but resistance is usually lying underneath. This is sad, but it is the human condition. Human beings are born sinful, and we tend to be selfish. The tendency to be selfish goes against the grain of what the Lord wants us to be, particularly in families. He wants us to be sacrificial and unconditionally loving. Unfortunately this can be hard to do.

Taken from Becoming a Family that Heals: How to Resolve Past Issues and Free Your Future by Drs. Tom and Beverly Rodgers.  Copyright © 2009 by Drs. Tom and Beverly Rodgers.  Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.  All rights reserved.