This section contains a list of totally legitimate needs. These are the kinds of things that we all need—every person on the planet—and, for many of these, we even have a right to expect, or claim, them. It is up to us now to own these legitimate needs, and to claim them in everyday life. There is an assorted mixture of environmental, social, and personal conditions, activities, and experiences, all of which are important for our physical and psychological health. Some have been incorporated into the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights.

Physical needs. From the moment you are born, you have the physical need for clean air, pure water, and wholesome food. Everyone on the planet needs this to survive and remain healthy. You also need suitable shelter and clothing, and the ability to stay warm. You need to be able to feel safe, in your own space or place. You also need to be able to keep yourself healthy: exercise and relaxation are important. We all also need degrees of stability, peace, and freedom in the physical, social, and political environment around us, in order to stay healthy 272and sane. Many of these needs are now being seen as basic human rights.

Emotional needs. We need to be able to be happy. We need security, nurturing, intimacy, and tenderness. We need people paying attention and being interested in us, as well as just caring for us. We need outlets for our emotionally expressive and creative feelings, and, later on, for our sexual or intimate feelings. We need to be treated kindly, fairly, and honestly, so that we can learn what these qualities really are. We need to be able to communicate, and to learn when not to. We need some humour in our lives. We need to be able to learn from our mistakes, without too much criticism.

Social needs. As humans and social animals, we need the company of others. We need to love and be loved, to have friends, and to feel respected and valued. At times of stress or distress, we need sympathy, compassion, and generosity. At times of achievement, we need recognition, appreciation, and congratulations. At times of difficulty, we need understanding, help, and maybe even to be forgiven, in order to learn forgiveness. We need to be able to interact with others, and we also need to be able to be by ourselves sometimes. We often need to feel that we are part of a group, or groups, and that we can trust others. These needs can help to determine who we are, in terms of our social identity. We need to be able to work together, and to co-operate, which sometimes means accepting leadership of others or over others.

Creative needs. We need to do creative and useful work. It may also need to be remunerative. We need to feel that we are making a positive contribution to society. Our minds need information, stimulation, and challenge; we have an innate need to understand people and the world around us. We need, and have the right to, education. We need variety, recreation, and play. We have a drive towards accomplishment, and need to exercise this. We need to grow and experience change. We also need times of quietness and peace. We need the freedom of ideas, and to be able to express these openly and honestly. We have the right to freedom of thought and speech. We need authentic and consistent responses from others. Conformity can be restricting but chaos does not work, and neither does anarchy make for contentment.

273 Moral, ethical, and spiritual needs. These are personal to each of us, but we all need to feel there is some value to our life. We need to feel that there are rules and a degree of order, value, and rightness; we also need a degree of autonomy, self-determination, and to make our own decisions about our own lives. We need to establish, and live by, our own standards of behaviour. We need to believe in ourselves, in people, in a natural order to things, and in the power (or rightness) of love. We need to experience power, both use and abuse, so that we can learn how to accept one and reject the other. Nearly all of us also seem to (or need to) believe in something larger than ourselves: a higher being or power—by whatever name one calls it.