Are you in a relationship where there is constant conflict?
It could be in the workplace, your personal relationship partner or spouse, or even your children. Knowing how to avoid conflict we need to look at what drives us and how it affects our decision making.
There are 6 Basic Human needs (according to the work done by Anthony Robbins and his personal power program) that we strive to meet and we do this subconsciously and in various ways: directly or indirectly, positively or negatively through the choices that we make, what we focus on and the goals we set ourselves.
These 6 human needs are:
Certainty is about the need for safety, security, seeking pleasure, comfort and avoiding pain. You focus on habitual routines and there is a need to control the environment. You become stressed when plans are changed or when you don’t know what is going to happen next (after a divorce or death of a partner) or life seems out of your control, you worry about the future. Often saying “I can’t be happy when I’m not certain about things”. Code-words that are frequently used are: comfort, security, stability and predictability.
Uncertainty/Variety makes us feel alive and engaged. It is about the need for change, challenges, surprises, fun and excitement. You hate habits and routines and avoid relationships that restrict you or control you in any way. Your happiness comes from having many different experiences that will exercise your intellectual, emotional and physical well-being. You are normally interesting and fun to be with, often interacting well with people and enjoying life to the full. You may come across as care-free, uncommitted, unreliable and don’t care. Your main focus is on seeking excitement and change. Code words used: change, surprise, challenges and instability.
Significance is about the need to feel valued, respected, loved and important in your relationship. You strive to be a leader at work, not a follower. You have trouble with love in relationships if you don’t feel important or respected. You have high standards and are constantly comparing yourself to others and you get angry when you are not accomplishing your goals or when people disagree with your beliefs or values. Code words used: pride, importance, achievements, performance and perfection.
Love & Connection is about the need to feel connected with people, to feel loved and valued. You often focus on relationships and others rather than yourself and how to satisfy their needs, you have great empathy and expect to be loved in return, therefore rejection is difficult for you. You need peoples’ approval and acceptance, and crave romantic love. You’re a good listener, give your time freely. You get angry when you feel controlled or misunderstood. Code words used: togetherness, passion, desire and romance.
Everything is either growing or dying, the need to constantly develop the self: emotionally, physically, intellectually and maybe spiritually – looking for new skills, new things and constantly growing. Your focus is on learning, studying and developing new skills and to be the best you can possibly be. Sometimes you can feel not worthy if you don’t continue to improve yourself. Code words used: I, myself, learn, grow and develop.
Contribution is about the need to give to others or a cause all the time, leaving a mark on the world or making a difference. It is about focusing on something beyond oneself. You gain significance because you are helping others and there is a sense of connection. You gain variety by being able to contribute in many different ways. You feel stressed if something seems unfair or unjust and get angry when you feel you are being controlled or lied to. You may sometimes neglect personal relationships because so much energy may go into a cause. Code words used: justice, compassion and giving.
The first 4 meet are our emotional needs and the last 2 are more Spiritual needs.
Anthony Robbins suggests that out of our 6 basic needs we generally only focus on 2 or 3 at the most. These needs are based on the way we live our lives and we find ways of satisfying them through positive or negative behaviours.
You can see where conflict may arise in a relationship if 2 people are operating from totally different needs, it is like communicating in a different language. Someone who wants lots of certainty and control will tend to make different decisions to someone who wants variety. Someone who values and needs lots of significance will make very different decisions to someone who values connection and love.
The person with Certainty & Connection/Love would find it difficult to let the love and connection flow if certainty wasn’t there, and certainty is difficult to accomplish with a person who thrives on Uncertainty/variety. If a person doesn’t feel Significance (respected & important) by their partner they may find it difficult for them to feel the Connection/love.
Maintaining a healthy relationship
· Be aware of what you and your partner want for yourselves and what you want from the relationship.
· Let one another know what your needs are.
· Realise that your partner will not be able to meet all your needs. Some of these needs will have to be met outside of the relationship.
· Be willing to negotiate and compromise on the things you want from one another.
· Do not demand that a partner change to meet all your expectations. Work to accept the differences between your ideal mate and the real person you are with.
· Try to see things from the other’s point of view. This doesn’t mean that you must agree with one another all the time, but rather that both of you can understand and respect each other’s differences, points of view and separate needs.
· Where critical differences do exist in your expectations, needs or opinions, try to work honestly and sincerely to negotiate. Seek professional help early rather than waiting until the situation becomes critical.
· Do your best to treat your partner in a way that says, “I love you and trust you, and I want to work this out.” This base of love, care and respect is present in all healthy relationships.
Acknowledgement – work by Anthony Robbins on the 6 basic needs.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published 28th April 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.