Saturday, 17 May 2014

Reflection 30 (third level of needs)

Tertiary needs.

We humans have three levels of needs: primary needs (food, drinks and sex, see reflection 28), secondary needs (comfort, power, control, see reflection 29) and tertiary needs.

The tertiary needs consist of us feeling good about ourselves and being appreciated by others. Most of us try to get these tertiary needs to be fulfilled by trying to put ourselves in front of others and in the spot light but do most of the time not reach any fulfillment. Chasing this need too hard, by drawing attention to ourselves will just let the fulfillment of this need run faster away from us.

This need is really what makes humans so special. We need satisfaction with what we do and get. The best way to get this need fulfilled is to help others, to make a positive difference for the people around us. Seemingly selfless service is the best way to achieve this. I write ''seemingly'' because complete altruism is impossible. Somehow if we help others without expecting anything in return, we get always so much in return: most of all, a huge peace of mind. Yes, we were somehow made like this. True peace of mind and happiness comes our way (we do not have to chase it) when we are helping others without expectations of getting something in return.

I remember very well when this truth really penetrated my mind.

 I was doing a rotation in the department of internal medicine when a very poorly dressed, completely unhygienic person was admitted. We had to clerk him, but we really experienced so much disgust at his sight and smell. He kept asking for a set of playing cards but nobody gave any attention to this request. I said he could try the gift shop, very well knowing he had no money with him. When I went back home, I pitied him more and more and took a set of playing cards and drove back 15 minutes to the hospital to bring him the playing cards. His smile was great. The next day, the playing cards were under quite some saliva and in a poor condition but he was still playing solitaire with them. The smile of this ''clochard" brought me so much peace it made my trip of 15 minutes back to the hospital really worth it. That time I thought back and could not find any present or material gain that had given me so much peace of mind and satisfaction. I had found a way to fulfil my tertiary needs.

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