According to the wise words of the fourteenth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, no individual is born free of the need for love. The need to love and connect with others lies at the very foundation of all human existence. Without love, an individual will not survive. And according to philanthropist Tony Robins, there is a core human need for love and connection. We all want love and connection, but many of us settle for unhealthy relationships, negative behaviors, or simple connections to avoid the potential hurt that real relationships can bring. So, how can each of us meet the human need for love and connection? Read on to learn more.
The Human Need for Love and Connection
Tony Robbins’ six basic needs are all important human requirements that help to shape our personalities and spiritual needs. However, the need for love and connection does so much more than shape our personalities—it could be the key to survival. According to an article written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gareth Cook and published by Scientific American, the human need to connect with others is so powerful that social pain may actually lead to real physical pain. Interestingly, social pain activates the same regions in the brain as physical pain—and events such as social exclusion, rejection, bullying, a break-up, or the sickness or death of a loved one may all inflict physical pain on an individual.
Oxytocin: The Love Hormone
The need for love and connection could also have something to do with the hormone known as oxytocin—or otherwise known as the love hormone. According to Psychology Today, oxytocin is released during social connectivity, which then triggers the release of serotonin in the brain. Oxytocin alters our brain activity in a way that makes us feel good, as if we are being rewarded. Similarly, oxytocin is released when we cuddle with a loved one, pet an animal, or bond with friends. The other benefits of oxytocin, include reduced stress levels, solid and healthy relationships with others, reduced drug cravings, improved social skills, induced sleep, and increased protective instincts against threats.
While certain individuals seek to fulfill their need for love and connection through healthy relationships with others, others fulfill the need negatively by pursuing unhealthy relationships, overeating, engaging in reckless sexual activity, the taking of drugs or alcohol, or other negative behaviors. But fortunately, there are many positive ways to meet the need for love and connection, and you don’t necessarily need to be involved in a romantic relationship to meet this need.
11 Ways to Meet the Need for Love and Connection
Meeting the human need for love and connection is incredibly important in an individual’s survival and overall outlook on life. Without feeling loved and connected to others, it’s more difficult to express love and empathy—which makes it difficult for individuals to meet any of the other five human needs in a healthy, positive way. But fortunately, there are many ways to meet the need for love and connection. Below, we’ll give you eleven ideas for doing so.
- Connect with someone new and start a positive, healthy relationship with a friend, community or a new group of people.
- Spend regular, quality time with the people you love and care for.
- Make time for intimacy with your romantic partner. Remember to cuddle, hold hands, display affection, and exchange massages.
- Join a sports team or any other activity that allows you to cooperate with other people.
- Volunteer in the community. Whether you serve food to the homeless, clean up the roadsides or local parks, or devote your time to advocating for a cause you’re passionate about, it will give you an opportunity to meet like-minded people. Plus, you’ll bond over something you are all passionate about, giving you more reasons to start a friendship.
- Join a spiritual group to help you feel more connected to the world around you.
- Keep a record of your loved one’s birthdays and be sure to send them a birthday greeting to let them know you care. What goes around, comes around!
- Try to perform at least one random act of kindness each week. You’ll instantly feel better about yourself and more connected to the world around you.
- Adopt a homeless pet from an animal shelter.
- Join a book club, board gaming group, or art group.
- If you don’t feel socially accepted because of your appearance, try a new diet, explore healthy foods, and start a new exercise routine. Not only will you start to feel better about your physical appearance, but you’ll feel better mentally and emotionally as well.
There you have it—eleven positive ways to help you fulfill your need for love and connection. In conclusion, remember the inspirational words of Mother Teresa: “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other”. Therefore, the need to connect with others and receive love is essential to our survival as human beings.