Emotional Needs

Needs for a healthy emotional life

The Ten Gifts

We humans all share ten emotional needs, also called the ten gifts.

The need to feel...

  1. heard
  2. seen
  3. accepted
  4. played with
  5. taught
  6. protected
  7. provided for
  8. valued
  9. affection
  10. that we are enough

Understand your emotions

  1. Name your emotions, speak their names. Using emotion words, identify what your highest high and lowest low of the day was. If this is difficult, practice with a feelings wheel.
  2. Choose a safe person (or three) and practice sharing your emotion words with them.
  3. Let feelings surface as they come, at your own pace. Some people will find this easy, while some people may take years.
  • The goal is to have needs but not be needy. As adults we are free to take responsibility for our emotions in ways we never could as children.
  • Not being needy means that we never try to make other people responsible for our feelings.
  • A feelings wheel can help put words to emotions.
Feelings wheel

This is a tool depicting emotions around a wheel, they are grouped by category to help put words to your thoughts.

feelings wheel thumbnail


The Then Gifts, as a concept, were originally compiled and developed by Laura Duncan. For more information, see also The Compassion Method course, by Laura Duncan.