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Polar Structure of Needs

It is a basic assumption of psychology that people are motivated by needs. It is not a coincidence that there are numerous models around this subject. Our approach assumes that there are three basic psychological needs, bonding, self-determination and self-esteem, and that these lie at the root of all human motivations. Specifically, we view all three needs as shaped by an inner polarity. Polarities are characterised by the fact that there are two poles of equal value, which are interdependent: bonding consists of the desire for closeness and the desire for distance, self-determination consists of the desire for freedom and the desire for security, self-esteem consists of the desire for uniqueness and the desire for belonging. With these considerations, it becomes clear that one cannot follow any need without frustrating the opposite need. Therefore, the idea that wellbeing can be reached by satisfying all needs and that this creates only ‘good’ feelings, is impossible. On the contrary; it is essential that one can easily do without the satisfying of all needs. Thus, tension and frustration tolerance is a core characteristic of satisfied people.

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