I recently had dinner with a counselor, minister and a medium and, as it often will in this kind of company, the conversation turned to the meaning of life. Each of us, for our life’s work, seeks to help people find fulfillment. Each of us has different methods for doing so. However, we did find common ground in the questions we ask in trying to help people find “fulfillment.
How do we make sense of life events? What is missing in daily life? How can one thrive, not just exist? How do we create a soulful, meaningful existence, and what does that even mean? What can we do to leave a legacy of spiritual growth that will benefit others after we’re gone?
We decided that we could find the answers to these questions by identifying basic “human needs” and “soul needs” that, when attained, can bring true happiness to the individual. Fulfilling human needs helps us find happiness through our relationships, career, finances, and living situation. Fulfilling human needs can help us to thrive, and not just exist. Soul needs address our quest for spiritual growth, and can help feel fulfilled in the knowledge that we’ve made a positive impact on the world.
Here are the four fundamental human needs, and four fundamental soul needs that we identified. Fulfilling these needs can help us find true happiness.
We can usually understand Love, and see it as a basic element of a fulfilled and meaningful life. And though it may be the most important of human needs, it’s not the only thing necessary to creating a soulful, meaningful existence.
Manageability is a big issue in todays world. Do we have enough time, energy, interest, and money to do what needs to be done by us? If not, must we feel we have given our power away?
Autonomy-Freedom of Choice
Autonomy looks at if we are in our relationship, job, home, and community by our free choice, or if we feel stuck due to money, responsibilities, lack of other resources like training, limited by our age or gender? We are not likely to feel satisfied with our life until we are participating by our own volition, instead of feeling stuck.
Lastly: Are we creating time for Fun? How often did we laugh today, or just be delighted to be alive this week?
Have Fun and Pleasure
To have Fun and pleasure is on both sets of needs, and probably should go at the top of our “to do” list!
We don’t need a special relationship to meet our soul’s love needs; we do need a sense of Belonging to a family, group of friends, or some type of tribe.
To Serve and Be Served (Self, Others, the Planet)
Our soul is satisfied when we Serve others, and learn give others the opportunity to serve us. Receiving help can be a difficult lesson for many people.
Transform and Help Others Transform
Transform and help others transform, whether we succeed or not. The intention and effort is what matters.
And lastly, creating Beauty. Beauty heals shame: so grow a garden, draw a picture, paint your house, bring home flowers, pumpkins or fall leaves and know you are satisfying our soul.
We can see that there is an overlap between Human Needs and Soul Needs! Thank heavens for that, because who needs something more added into an already complex and over-scheduled life?
Are there any important human or soul needs that you would add to this list? Leave them in the comments below, and then perhaps you can have FUN creating meaning in your life today!
Penelope Emmons is an ordained Spiritualist Minister and Healer, with a Bachelors Degree in Education and a Masters in Social Work from Temple University. She provides spiritual consultations by phone or Skype at her office in Gettysburg, PA.