Maslow’s Pyramid

03 Feb, 2014

Abraham  Maslow – American humanistic psychologist born in 1908. His main contribution in psychology was creating a hierarchy of human needs. He carefully analyzed our needs, people’s needs

He put everything in the shape of a pyramid. Our needs can be smaller or bigger, more powerful or weaker. We can clearly divide them into two: “Deficient needs” and “Growing needs”. So, he put on the base of the pyramid our strongest needs.

He started with the first level: Physical needs: food, water, air, sleep, sex. Indeed, any person on Earth has to satisfy these needs. No matter the social status, tastes, sex or other categories, one will firstly want to satisfy the needs mentioned above. At the same time, after analyzing his affirmations, I wonder if we could live without water, food, air, sleep. The answer is no, at least not for long.

Level two: Safety needs: health, home and family safety, job, morality. These needs do not provide stability, (family and house) security. They provide the balance we need in this chaotic world. Personally, I would introduce “religion” here. I find my peace within the family, surrounded by the people I care. Others find it in church, or in any other way which places them close to God. The second level of the pyramid represents our inner peace, the idea of belonging to someone, to be a part of a family, a class or of an office. Communication represents a very important piece here.

The third level of the pyramid is called: Need of love and hope whose components are: friendship, family, belonging to a group, intimate relationships. Even the coldest people on earth need affection and love. No matter who you are, how you are and what you seem to be. This level is highly connected with the previous one, safety. How would we be without feelings, without love? I once read we need 5 hugs a day to be happy. And not any kind of hugs. The heart’s warmth can not be fooled. Hugs are felt deeply inside. This way you know when you are limited to a friendship or when you are heading towards love – any kind of love.

The first part of the pyramid ends with the forth level: Needs of esteem: self esteem, respect from others, trust. All these also comprise recognition coming from other people – power, prestige, acceptance – and self esteem – trust, competence, adequacy. By failing at this level, we get discouraged and mistrust ourselves. The need of admiration is essential for all of us. We need to be appreciated, we need encouragement.

So, here ends the part of “Deficient needs”. These 4 levels are parts of who we are, more or less. You feel nothing special when you have them all satisfied but you feel discomfort when at least one is missing.

The second part of the pyramid comprises “Growth needs”, level 5 being occupied by the need of self – improvement: morality, creativity, lack of prejudice, acceptance of facts. This is the last step to perfection. And as perfection is not possible it is very hard to completely fulfill all the five steps. The last one is the hardest because it implies dreams, success, finding a hobby, awareness of the role you play in your own life and especially in the world. Meditation is included here, something that few people practice. Also by creating and fulfilling your destiny and reaching your maximum potential the pyramid is complete.

It is obvious that there is a relationship of dependence between the 5 stages. As long as you haven’t satisfied your lower needs from steps 1 and 2, you will not be able to ascent to the motivational system from superior steps 3, 4 and 5. Take this example: when you are sick, when you have no place to sleep or when you don’t have a satisfying relationship, you will definitely not be able to look for a social life, you will not be able to take credits and you will especially fail in creating your own destiny.

Motivation is crucial no matter where you are standing right now. Motivate yourself to get to the top. Find out who you really are, what you lack and help yourself develop. It is very clear that each person is different, we have different rhythms when moving forward but the most important thing is that we want to do it and to know what we have to do to get it. Start by analyzing your environment, analyze your own person, meditate – you with yourself. There is potential in each of us but sometimes we forget about it and rely only on destiny. Completely wrong!

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