Basic Requirements

I am ceaselessly fascinated by people and human happiness.

People are funny things. So complicated, so varied and different, and yet essentially we are all so simple. And we all work the same way on some level.

We require the same set of essentials to be happy, functional people. I don’t mean food and water and sex (ha, ha, if only) I mean emotional essentials.

For children it’s fairly easy:  they need to be stimulated. They need to feel safe. They need to have boundaries set for them and they need to feel loved.


As adults we like to make things complicated. We convince ourselves that we have complicated needs and that we are enigmas to be misunderstood. We can’t understand ourselves, we wish that we could understand ourselves better. We all need psychiatric help. On some levels – yes we do. I really believe that we are all pretty twisted. Every last one of us.

But on another level I can’t help thinking of a lovely little thing that step dad likes to say, which is,  “poef, get over it”

I also heard today a beautiful sum up of all of those very valid things that stand between us and happiness. All of the obstacles that prevent us from embarking on our life’s purpose or stop us from following our dreams. For all of the reasons and the hurt this genius man had one term, he said, “That’s called So What”.

If we are all alone then we are together in that too. I can’t remember who said that.

At the end of the day, after our physical survival is taken care of, this is my great summation of all that we need to be emotionally healthy:

We need to be loved.

We need to love someone outside of our selves. (this does not have to be romantic love – it can be any kind of love that is *real)

We need to have gratitude.

We need to have a purpose.

We need to feel useful to others.

We need to pursue something that inspires us.

We need to make a *choice to be happy.


That’s it. That’s all we need. No matter what our background or culture may be.

Every religion and culture and society in the world has this same set of requirements. They give them different names and dress them up as all kinds of other things, some even try to impose them with threats of eternal retribution if they are not upheld. Unfortunately it is the way of things that over time those in power have corrupted and altered the message to their own purposes and then set in in stone that way for future generations. But if you really get to the bare bones of things I think that you will find the same basic recipe for human contentment. This is just my English speaking South African way of saying it.

There is of course also the God aspect of all religion and spiritualism, but that is a whole topic on its own and I am not sure if I am quite ready to tackle that on a public domain.

* Blog to follow.


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