Basic Needs – Human Values

18/01/2023by Terry White

Values are the things that ultimately give our lives direction. They determine our priorities in life, aid our growth, help us to create the future we want to experience, and are deeply linked to our sense of self and mental health. They define us, they are who we want to be at our best, they are a filter we use to make hard decisions.

Honesty, integrity, love… these are just a few examples of values, but really the list could go on for what seems like an eternity.

What is interesting is that out of a list of hundreds of values some can be described as ‘end’ values – those that we seek to attain and live with, and others ‘means’ values – those which help us achieve our end values. Sometimes means values could even be seen the behaviours that support our values.

Now, our question is whether we can associate certain values with the different levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. If we look at the very first level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs; that of the basic necessities of life (air, water, food, shelter, sleep, etc), can these needs motivate our actions and behaviours, and further, how do they relate to our mental health?

End values that may be attached to physiological needs could include preservation, dignity and security. What values could we use to achieve this? Health, practicality, moderation, integrity, empathy. For example: we need a roof over our heads, even the most basic of shelters will do – practicality; to ensure that we have enough food and water we may be forced to ration at times – moderation.

Where we come unstuck is when we are in a situation where we are not able to honour our values. Our actions and behaviours don’t match our values, which makes us feel conflicted and can lead to mental health issues.


If you find this subject of interest go here for more information: Why Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs Matters – YouTube and do look out for more of our blogs over the coming weeks.

Should you feel you’d like to talk to us about how you might discover and start honouring your values, Quandary Pond is just a phone call away. Get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.

Terry White