Do You Want to Be Happy?

October 9, 2015 - 10:02am

By John Kreiser, B.S.W., R.S.W., Counsellor

Most people genuinely want to be happy. However happiness can not be pursued directly. We can become happier if we meet our basic human needs. If you can meet your basic psychological human needs and at the same time respect the rights of others to meet their needs then you have a supremely reasonable chance of becoming happier.

These human needs are universal and all human beings have these needs. However each individual meets these needs in their own unique way. These unique “wants” are portrayed as pictures within our mind much like a picture album. We are always comparing what we “want” with what we are getting from the real world.

Below you will find a list of these human needs. The other basic human need is one of survival. Survival needs include water, food, air, shelter and safety. When these basic survival needs are threatened these needs take priority and every individual will strive to meet his psychological needs after the threat has been staved off.

This is a list and a description of these basic human needs. The question we need to ask ourselves is  “Am I meeting my needs for love, self-power, fun and freedom? How do I do this? “

Love and belonging:

  • caring for myself in a healthy and unconditional way
  • being cared for and caring for someone in a healthy and unconditional way
  • being accepted by family, friends and life partner
  • caring, friendship and involvement
  • sense of belonging
  • sense of human connection and healthy relationships
  • Am I loving and loved?

Self – power:

  • feeling of being capable and competent
  • being able to do what I want because I have new skills
  • having the skills to create things and influence my environment
  • being recognized for strengths and achievements
  • feeling as important as anybody else … because I am
  • having influence with other people
  • self –confidence and self –efficacy
  • Am I confident in who I am?


  • freedom to be who I am
  • freedom to be the person I was meant to be  
  • freedom to think, do or say what I want
  • freedom of choice
  • independence
  • freedom from addictions, compulsions, abuse and violence
  • What choices have I made and continue to make?


  • What do I do for pleasure and enjoyment?
  • How many times did I laugh today?
  • Who do I enjoy being with? Why?
  • jokes, humor and positive enjoyable activities
  • learning is fun
  • How am I playful?

We can meet these needs in effective ways or in non –effective ways? Effective ways are healthy and respectful. In the next article  we will examine what this really means in terms of personal behavior . 


Living a Happy Life
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