Reality Check: Understanding your need strength profile

Choice Theory proposes that every human being has the same five basic needs: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom, and fun. However, that doesn’t imply that we are identical; far from it!

The strength of each of those needs contributes to our personality. One person might have a high need for freedom; another might have a low need for freedom and a high need for fun.

Understanding one’s need strength profile can be helpful for a relationship. In his book, “Getting Together and Staying Together, Solving the Mystery of Marriage,” Dr. Glasser suggests that some need strength combinations offer more promising possibilities for a satisfying relationship than others.

The following questions may help you understand the relative strengths of your needs. Select very low, low, average, high, or very high for each need.

  • The survival need: Are you more of a saver than a spender? Are you very concerned about your health? These could indicate a higher survival need than someone who eagerly takes risks and doesn’t like to settle for the status quo.
  • The love and belonging need: Do you have a strong need for closeness, affection, and intimacy? Do you reach out, preferring even to be connected with people you don’t know, rather than being alone? That could indicate a higher love and belonging need than someone who is quite satisfied with low levels of intimacy, with little need for love and connection.
  • The power need: Do you crave recognition? Feel the need to excel at whatever you do? Is every activity a competition? Are you only satisfied when you have more than others, whether money, prestige, or accomplishment? A high need for power isn’t necessarily coupled with the wish to control others, but that could also be an indicator. Or do you have a “live and let live” mentality? Do you play for fun rather than to win? Can you feel good about yourself without external confirmation? Those may indicate a lower level of the power need.
  • The need for freedom:  How do you feel about being told what to do? Told how to live your life? If your partner says, “Let’s do something,” do you immediately find an objection? Or do you find it easy to compromise and go along with other’s wishes? A low need for freedom might be implied if you are often with a crowd, happy to do whatever everyone else wants.  A higher need might be indicated by a strong wish to make your own choices, even if it means acting completely alone.
  • The need for fun: Do you like to laugh? Play? Learn? Do you laugh at yourself? Do you find fun in most everything you do? Or does fun play a minor role in your life? If fun seems frivolous to you, if learning brings you no joy, if you find people silly, then the strength of your need for fun may be relatively low.

As with any profile, answers are neither right nor wrong. We are who we are. Next time, I will offer some information about compatibility and need profiles.

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