I was reading an article, a movie review actually, but that is not important right now. The writer was making reference to character motivation and said that everyone was seeking the emotional essentials: love, sex, conversation, and compliments. This is an interesting short list. Conversation and compliments?
My first thought was Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Let's dust that off, shall we?
- Physiological needs (Breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis, excretion)
- Safety needs (Security of body, of employment, of resources, of morality, of the family, of health, or property)
- Love and belonging (Friendship, family, sexual intimacy)
- Esteem (Self-esteem, confidence, achievement, respect of others, respect by others)
- Self-actualization (Morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice, acceptance of facts)
Emotional essentials are more advanced, so we can skip the first two, physiological and safety. The assumption being that if these first two are not being met then you have no time to ponder your lack of the emotional essentials. Convenient that sex appears as both a base physiological essential and part of the higher need to feel loved and wanted. I guess the point might be that masturbation could satisfy the base physiological need for sex, but not the higher need of feeling love and belonging.
We also can skip self-actualization since that is an intellectual essential, and not emotional. But what about esteem? Is esteem an emotional essential? I say no. Esteem is an individual essential.
Comparing love, sex, conversation, and compliments to love and belonging (friendship, family, sexual intimacy), I would have to admit that the writer was spot on. Those are the emotional essentials form Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.
I did some searching. You know, Google. And from a marriage/relationship site I get the following emotional essentials:
- Sexual Fulfillment
- Recreational Companionship
- Honesty and Openness
- Physical Attractiveness
- Financial Support
- Domestic Support
- Family Commitment
Straight off we can match the following with the writer's short list: affection, sexual fulfillment, conversation, and admiration.
Recreational Companionship? Someone to do stuff with, right? Emotional? No. Essential? For some, maybe, but not for all, so not essential.
Honesty and Openness? Emotional? No. Essential? For a relationship, yes.
Physical Attractiveness? Whose? The person? Or people in that person's world?
Financial and Domestic Support? At best, these tie back to the base physiological needs.
Family Commitment? What does this even mean? Just having a family? Sacrificing for the good of the family? Who gets to decide what is good?
So. That marriage/relationship site has some advice it wants to convey and included them in a list of emotional essentials. But they do have items that match the writer's short list: love, sex, conversation, and compliments
On a psychology-type site I found the following top ten emotional essentials. One quick look and they already seem more genuine than the list from the marriage site.
- Security — safe territory and an environment which allows us to develop fully
- Attention (to give and receive it) — a form of nutrition
- Sense of autonomy and control — having volition to make responsible choices
- Being emotionally connected to others
- Feeling part of a wider community
- Friendship, intimacy — to know that at least one other person accepts us totally for who we are, “warts ‘n’ all”
- Privacy — opportunity to reflect and consolidate experience
- Sense of status within social groupings
- Sense of competence and achievement
- Having meaning and purpose — which comes from being stretched in what we do and think.
These are the ones that qualify as an emotional need: attention, connected to others, friendship, and intimacy.
Okay. We now have an expanded list of emotional needs:
- sexual fulfillment
- connected to others
Although these are considered "needs" I submit to you, I challenge you, that they are actually what you should be giving to others, as appropriate for each relationship, and to your romantic partner, give ALL of them.