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Your psychosocial needs govern you far more than laws

1,125 words

Your need others to respect what you need. As you need to respect your own. Dealing honestly with both is often the elephant in the room.



Psychosocial needs

Your body requires fluid equilibrium. Anakelogy calls this your core need. Water suits just fine. Anakelogy call this your resource need. You rely on bottled water. Anakelogy calls this your access need.

Who gets that water for you? You, or someone else? Or both?

Yes, you get your own bottled water, at the store. Who puts that water in those bottles? You implicitly trust others in this process to each do their part.

You’re self-sufficient in earning the money to purchase that water. But you’re trusting the cooperation of others to provide what you buy. Self-sufficiency and cooperation are what anakelogy calls your psychosocial needs.

Your self-needs

You need to be able to function on your own, without always running to others. You routinely experience this list of needs in your life at one point or another.





Internalized incentive

Personal freedom

Personal security











Your social-needs

You also need others to be there for those areas you cannot always provide for yourself. You routinely experience this list of needs in your life at one point or another.




Being understood






Equal treatment








Psychosocial tension

You optimally experience both sets in balance. Ideally, each complements the other.

Your personal need for freedom squares away with your shared need for cooperation. Your need for your group to support you where helpless balances with your need for the group to allow you to stretch your self-sufficiencies.

In reality, you typically experience one set more than the other at any given time. Your self-needs more than your social-needs. Or your social-needs more than your self-needs.

Your social-needs prioritized

At one moment, you feel an urgency for belonging. You feel painfully lonely and long for a friend to listen to you. You require the cooperation of your teammates. You need others to act fair.

As these social-needs emerge in the foreground, your self-needs slip into the background. You feel less of a need for personal space. Privacy becomes less important. Your resilience less of a thing.

Your self-needs prioritized

At another time, your need for self-determination kicks out what the group demands. You need to do more for yourself, to be set when no one is around for help. You must define your own purpose.

While these self-needs assert themselves in the foreground, your social-needs slide out of view. You feel easily smothered by the group’s many rules. Their appreciation means less if you can’t appreciate yourself.

Psychosocial balancing act

As your prioritizing social-needs get resolved, you feel them less urgently. They become defocal. By comparison, your self-needs seem more urgent. They become prefocal, then more fully focal.

After feeling warmly included by your friends, you sense they conditionally accept you. You risk self-expression of those aspects you know they have yet to affirm. You assert your autonomy.

As your reprioritized self-needs get resolved, they decline in relative urgency. Your need for autonomy becomes defocal. In contrast, your underserved need for intimacy becomes prefocal. Then fully focal.

After feeling better understood, you seek more of your friends’ appreciation of you. More of their meaningful cooperation. More of their full inclusion of you, as they discover more of who you authentically are.

Psychosocial situation to psychosocial imbalance

Your situation shapes your psychosocial needs. Some situations favor your self-needs over your social-needs. While others honor your social-needs over your self-needs.

Whatever remains in your control you can change. Situations outside of your control can harden how you experience your impacted psychosocial needs.

The more one set of needs resolve, while the other needs linger unresolved, the more pulled you will likely be to find some kind of relief.

Where self-needs resolve more than social-needs

What if no one in your group accepts you for being so different? What if your family denies you’re gay? Or rejects your claim of being wrongly convicted? Your affected psychosocial needs naturally come to the fore.

You feel less dependent on a group not fully inclusive of your true self. Your underserved need for inclusion goes elsewhere.

You find more inclusion among likeminded souls. Who generalize with you to create policies compelling others to be more inclusive of you and other such rejected folks.

Where social-needs resolve more than self-needs

What if your group functions just fine, until some top-down policy undercuts its cohesion? What if you can’t freely cooperate because some members demand their due? Your affected psychosocial needs naturally come to the fore.

You trust your group as long as everyone faithfully performs their role. Your underserved need for support keeps you on edge.

You find you must do more on your own. You generalize with others for greater self-sufficiency, and freedom from these distant disturbances to your traditional ways of life.

Politicizing your psychosocial urgency

What you see as political choices masks these painfully felt psychosocial needs. It’s easier to unveil a little vulnerability under protective cover of reasoned political arguments. Why expose where it really hurts?

The more painfully underserved your psychosocial needs, the more you gravitate toward others sharing the same prioritized set of needs. Your outward political differences guard your inward difference of suffered psychosocial needs.

You don’t choose your needs, your needs choose you. Your political opponents didn’t choose their needs either. Your life situations prioritize your differing psychosocial needs. Your conflicting politics socially convey this differing priority of needs.

Your false sense of psychosocial urgency


Ultimately, your needs do not matter more than theirs. Nor do their needs matter more than yours. According to nature-based anakelogy, all needs sit equal before nature.

The more you can stretch outside of yourself to respect the needs of others, the more you can inspire them to respect your differing needs. Until then, mutual defensiveness makes sure the rising sense of urgency will only burn hotter.

Your psychosocial orientation and beyond

Elsewhere, I link this to what anakelogy calls your psychosocial orientation. The more fixed your need-shaping life situations, the more compelled to orient yourself in a certain way to ease your affected needs.

Unlike sexual orientation, your psychosocial orientation can naturally soften. The more resolved your psychosocial needs, the easier to orient yourself to the differently prioritized psychosocial needs of others.

This isn’t anything new. If love is putting the needs of others ahead of your own, then political polarization can be loved to death.

Resources now poured into political fighting can then be reprioritized to resolving specific needs toward solving larger problems. One loving step at a time.


Steph Turner is the founder of anakelogy, the study of need. Also the founder of Value Relating to apply anakelogy to your painful needs, offering a viable alternative to stigmatizing psychotherapy, by inviting you to speak your truth to power. Delve deeper into how unmet psychosocial needs shape your politics by previewing Defusing Polarization: Understanding Divisive Politics, my eCourse available at Udemy.


Steph is a self-described transspirit, which is a kind of sacred misfit. By transcending conventional limits—gender norms, religious identities, political polarities, and more—Steph experiences a unique connection in life. And suspects others do as well. This blog shares that spirituality, and affirms others of a similar state of being.

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