Freedom Resource Center for Independent Living’s mission is to help individuals with disabilities increase their independence so that they are equal and valued participants in society. Meeting and making decisions as to how we meet are basic needs is an integral part of independence and integration.
Choice theory states that all behavior is a result of choices, and our life choices are driven by our genetically encoded basic needs: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom, and fun. These five needs affect what we do and how we behave.
Survival: Beyond eating and breathing, survival includes feeling secure and safe. For some people, this may mean being prepared for unexpected events, not taking risks, taking care of your health, exchanging lots of love and affection, maintaining status quo, planning for the future, and working hard at a job.
Love and belonging: Personal love and intimacy, concern about the well-being of others, getting to know new people, closeness with friends or those you love, feeling comfortable at home, relating well with people and they with you, satisfying relationships are all aspects of love and belonging.
Power: Power takes many forms such as having wealth, prestige, respect and recognition from others, talking and being listened to, being taken seriously, enjoyment of competition and especially winning, and a fear of showing vulnerability. Achieving and being recognized for achievements is important to someone with a high need for power.
Freedom: This may include the freedom to pursue different interests and encouragement from your partner to do so, resistance to being told what to do, desire to live your life in your own way, willingness to take responsibility for your life, and open-rnindedness.
Fun: The need for play, for pleasurable activity, learning new things, creative activity, a sense of humor, the ability to laugh at yourself, and enjoying life.
It is important to note that all of our actions are attempts to satisfy these basic needs. Unfortunately, the actions we “choose” may not always be “responsible” (meeting our needs while allowing others to also get their needs met as well). If our needs are not met, we experience pain. The purpose of Choice Theory is to help identify the needs that are not being responsibly met and try to make choices that will better address that need in a responsible way, a more effective way.
All of our behavior is an attempt to close the gap between our needs, wants, and what we actually are getting out of life.
When we acquire a disability, we may find that how we used to meet our basic needs has changed. If we are born with a disability, we may not be achieving the satisfaction we would like in meeting our basic needs and wants.
If you are not effectively meeting your basic needs and what to close the gap between your needs, wants and what you are actually getting out of life, you might want to call Freedom Resource Center and ask for help in identifying how you could more effectively meet your needs so that you can increase your independence and your involvement in your community.
(image description: Five basic needs in capital letters followed by 1. To be loved and connected with others 2. To achieve a sense of competence and personal power 3. To act with a degree of freedom and independence 4. To experience joy and fun 5. To survive)