In this Post, I will argue that Dependence is not an innate characteristic of all Disabled People, but is a learned mindset that stifles potential and impacts on the ability to lead a fulfilled life.
But before we get into this, what are Tony Robins 6 Human Needs?
The 6 Human Needs
1. Certainty: assurance you can avoid pain and gain pleasure
2. Uncertainty/Variety: the need for the unknown, change, new stimuli
3. Significance: feeling unique, important, special or needed
4. Connection/Love: a strong feeling of closeness or union with someone or something
5. Growth: an expansion of capacity, capability or understanding
6. Contribution: a sense of service and focus on helping, giving to and supporting others
Tony goes on to state that these ‘core needs’ can be met either as a negative or positive form of behaviour.
Their Relevance to Dependence
I would also strongly advise you to read what Jennifer Price adds to the analysis of Tony’ 6 Human Needs. You can read what she has to say here. What I find most interesting is this assertion that human behaviour for each need can be defined as negative or positive forms of behaviour. It is my belief that all human behaviour is learned from our parents, teachers and other children as we develop and grow from childhood into adults. Dependence may begin as Tony describes as a need to survive and perhaps it is not a coincidence that the challenges of growing up with a Disability can feel like a game of survival. I always tell people when they ask, that my life’s achievements were not because of, but in-spite of the best endeavours by some to crush my preference for free will – take a look at the About page to understand more. When we are babies we have a complete Dependence upon our parents to meet our every need for food, water, shelter and the need, above all, to be safe.
So, how Chris, does Dependence move from being a need to survive to an obstacle to us achieving our true potential and leading a fulfilled life?
That’s a really good question and the best way to understand the causes is to look more deeply at Connection. However, Babies are born helpless and must have their basic survival needs fully met. They need to know how to get what they want and will learn positive and negative Dependence. For example, babies cry so that it is difficult to forget they are there. They quickly learn that when you cry more often the reaction from their parents is to pacify them – anything for some peace and quiet.
Now it is my belief that some Disabled People have also learned to have their needs met in a similar way. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not seeking to come across as Ableist, but I have had literally thousands of conversations with my Disabled Friends and Disabled People who I have supported into work and starting their own business, where they would laugh and say “I know, but don’t tell anyone I said that”. Also for the record, most adults are also not afraid to adopt negative forms of Dependence when it serves a purpose, usually an unmet human need.
Where I don’t entirely agree with Tony, is that Disabled People cannot resolve all their needs without support. For example I need to be able to make text and images bigger on mobile devices or computers. Yes, I could get to within inches of the screen and read the text, but it would not take long for me to then develop a poor working posture and subsequently, develop upper muscular skeletal issues. Some other aspects of physical need and our ability to communicate what we need are a fact of life for many Disabled People.
But and it’s a big but, this does not mean that we should accept Dependence as a fate accompli. If it were, why then do people achieve different things in-spite of a Disability?
So, Chris how do we learn new positive patterns of behaviour that allow us to challenge a Dependence mindset and achieve our fullest potential leading to a truly fulfilled life?
Jenny Price has made this really easy. We need to switch our FOCUS outwards to those around us and take action in the following ways.
love and connection from immediate family members and/or close friends through quality time
connection with community and/or work
performing good deeds, volunteering
being kind, receiving kindness
words of affirmation
cuddling with your partner or your children
loving your pets
connection to religion
acts of service
So, in conclusion I believe that Dependence is not something that we just have to accept about ourselves and how we behave. We always have choices. We can chose to allow Dependence to dominate our lives or we can say “no” and start to make small changes in how we choose to live our lives. I am not saying it is easy. In a way, it is easy to just accept what we have. However, living a life of acceptance, in my view, is much harder than fighting for what is a right that most people simply take for granted.