Who Needs Need? The 12 Pathways Series

By Greg Sanderson

Emotional needs, or “addictions,” as Ken Keyes calls them, are simply programs in your mind of how the world should be. They’re expectations founded in fear…And the ONLY cause of suffering.

In our view, there are two basic emotions, love and fear. Love goes from feeling OK to passionate exhilaration and everything in between. Fear goes from mild annoyance to stark terror and everything in between. Love is more fun.

When something or somebody doesn’t fit your program, fear sets in, often disguised as anger, frustration, jealousy, or something else that sure ain’t love.

Suppose, for example, you see your significant other and a stranger off in a corner, whispering, laughing, and looking over at you. Then, shortly thereafter, you look for them and they are no longer there.

What goes through your mind? Does it fit your picture of proper behavior? What are your feelings? Are you tempted to check the bedrooms? Is the car still outside? Where could they be?

I’ll bet you never considered that they were planning a surprise party for you and the other person was a caterer.

That’s the second pathway in action: I am discovering how my consciousness-dominating addictions create my illusory version of the changing world of people and situations around me.

Needs create fantasies about the way things are. It reminds you that what you don’t know CAN hurt you or, more accurately, can trigger your programming, and that hurts.

I am discovering how my consciousness-dominating addictions…They’re never out of mind.

create my illusory version…It’s MY illusion, nobody else’s.

of the changing world of people and situations around me. It’s always changing, so my perception in this moment might not be valid in the next.

Need also affects the way you view other people. When you operate from need, you can’t see beyond it. Instead, you see people either as suppliers or as competition. For example, take the womanizer who sees women only as conquests and men only as competition. He never gets to see and enjoy the whole person (same goes for the “manizer,” of course).

Every addiction narrows your view of people through the lens of satisfy or compete, and it narrows your life experience accordingly. Look, for example, at a need for approval.

When you’re addicted to approval and consider a course of action, your first thought is “What will people think?” not “Will it work?” or “This will be fun.” You see other people either as approvers or threats—sources of acceptance or rejection.

I was once at a guest night for a teaching founded on the need for approval. An obviously shy student next to me summoned up all his courage, extended his hand, and introduced himself. I could feel his anxiety.

Being the kindly soul I am, I smiled and shook his hand, and had the stark realization that I could have destroyed him with a sneer. What power he handed me in that moment! Without the need for approval, he could have gone through the exact same motions, and it would have conveyed a completely different message.

The most difficult addiction to overcome is the need to be right, and here’s a one-word demonstration of how the addiction creates your “illusory version.” Ready?…Be aware of your reaction… Here’s the word:


Here are three possible thoughts that may come to mind.

“OMG, Gregg’s a Democrat!”

“OMG, Gregg’s a Republican!”

“So what’s the point?”

The first two OMGs will produce feelings of acceptance or rejection depending upon your own point of view. Those are the emotional reactions from a need to be right. There’s one other possible reaction I could only get from my editor: “OMG, Gregg’s getting political!”

My point, and the point of the second pathway, is that needs keep you from perceiving people fully, and restrict your options as you live your life.

I assure you there’s nothing wrong with being right or wanting approval. It’s nice that folks agree with you and like what you’re doing. It’s addictive programming though, when it dominates your consciousness or limits your action.

There is a way out, and that way is the key to personal happiness and a stress-free life. Maybe I’ll tell you about it next month…

Gregg Sanderson is author of Spirit With A Smile, The World According To BOB. He is a licensed practitioner in the Centers for Spiritual Living, and a Certified Trainer for Infinite Possibilities. His earlier books were, What Ever Happened To Happily Ever After? and Split Happens—Easing The Pain Of Divorce. His latest project is the New Thought Global Network, where subscribers can enjoy the best in New Thought presentations from anywhere at any time. You can see it at http://www.newthoughtglobal.org.

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