By Michael Rice, LISAC, CTRTC
The five basic and genetic needs for Happiness are Survival, Love and Belonging, Power, Freedom, and Fun. These needs will almost always require a connection with someone else in order to both achieve and maintain. As Dr. Wm Glasser asks: “How happy and enthused would you be if you were playing golf alone and shot a hole-in-one?” Your excitement would be short-lived at best. There would be no one to share in the happiness of such an event, much less, confirm that you did, indeed, get a hole-in-one.
Try as you might to get your friends excited about your accomplishment, you would get feedback such as, “yeah, right,” or “well good for you.” There will be no shouts of joy or excitement because they didn’t see you do it and therefore, they cannot share fully in your emotion. Your continued happiness would be the result of their excitement for you. Since they weren’t there to witness the deed, all they can do is pat you on the back and say, “nice going.”
The paradox of happiness is that while no one can make you happy, happiness requires a satisfying relationship with those who are important to you. The golfer who shot the hole-in- one did so on his own, but it would take someone meaningful to him to achieve happiness from his victory. Had someone else been with him to witness the achievement, he would have surpassed pleasure and would have realized tremendous happiness.
When a person has exhausted all the skills they possess to acquire and/or maintain meaningful relationships, they begin to rely only on those things that they can achieve or do that does not involve another person. The satisfaction they receive from these behaviors is what they wrongly perceived as happiness. Pleasure is much more intense than happiness but it has one major drawback . . . it is short lived. Pleasure diminishes almost as quickly as it is achieved. Therefore, the behavior that creates pleasure must often be repeated several times to maintain the pleasure received. Think of the mouse in the lab study that keeps pushing the lever over and over to get his dose of cocaine’s pleasurable feeling. Happiness is not as intense as pleasure but it generally tends to last for days, weeks, months, and even years.
Five Basic Needs for Pleasure
Pleasure is usually attained without the need or involvement of anyone else or at the expense of another person.
- Sex (indiscriminant, self-serving, masturbation)
- Food, Alcohol, Drugs
- Isolating – detaching from others.
- Thrill Seeking – Adrenalin surges. Element of danger. (Gambling, dangerous risks, Hunting, Torture, history of criminal behavior, video games, car racing, sky diving, bungee jumping, BDSM, Catch & Release relationships, sex in public places.
- Reckless Spending
You don’t need anyone in your life to experience pleasure. You DO have to have meaningful relationships in order to experience happiness.
Five Basic needs for Happiness,
- Love & Belonging
Once the 5 Basic Needs for Happiness are maintained, the need for Pleasure diminishes from compulsive behaviors to occasional behaviors, or total cessation, and will result in a happier and healthier way of living.