Why are we all so basic you ask? Because as humans we require basic needs to be met to level up and develop our character as individuals and in society. A theory by Abraham Maslow identified these basic human needs in a hierarchy pyramid. I studied about this theory in one of my elective classes while studying for my undergraduate and it definitely improved my understanding of achieving self-actualization.
This visual is to help understand the complexity of the theory. Just on a glance, you see this summary and think oh yeah I generally feel like I’ve had my needs met. But there is more to the story because it is speaking on motivation and desire to have these needs met, or lack thereof.
Through the way I have studied this, I like to visualize it as a growing tree.
The roots being the biological aspect and the growth through to the blossoming of fulfillment and self-actualization.
The roots of a growing tree reflect this aspect of biological or physiological needs which are food, water, warmth, rest/shelter, (consenting) sex, and sleep. Most of these are also your basic human rights also, which unfortunately means that around 36% of the global population are at this level and may find it a lot harder to rise. Having these basic needs met is likely to be taken for granted because for a large population of the world, physiological and safety needs are not generally in a position of deficiency. And if they are, it is motivation not to be. Within this theory, Maslow states that the basic needs should be met before anything else.
To feel safe and secure is an underestimated basic need. This need will allow you to take care of our biological needs with a job and health security and safe from violence, danger, and theft. It is a vital need that can help motivate you to reach a higher level. When this need becomes threatened, we lose our sense of security which leaves us in a vulnerable state. When we find this need met, we stand tall and are more stabilized to continue our journey.
The middle levels of this hierarchy are driven by our psychological needs. It becomes more about our feelings and emotions than just our basic needs being met. We search for belongingness from our family and friendships, intimate relationships, even in the workplace or school. Expanding on this idea, we essentially want to find our place in this big world and when we do, we find a level of elevation. When we feel a sense of belonging and finding our tribe, our view is less individualistic and more concerned with the community. A word of advice, do not change yourself to try and fit in. Be yourself, always. At this level, you’re branching out and expanding your tree, and don’t you look just lovely doing so.
Self-esteem can be difficult to navigate, especially if you found yourself exposed to environmental factors that could change the way you see yourself. This is a crucial need to reach self-fulfillment as you need to be secure in yourself and know you belong in this world (even if no one has told you, yet). The theory is split into two categories consisting of 1. self-esteem relating to self-confidence, personal aspirations, strength, and respect, and 2. esteem based on reputation and recognition by others. A tree blossoms no matter the type, without judgment or ridicule.
Ah, so you’ve reached the top of the tree congratulations, I can tell you the view is amazing! All that you’ve accomplished is giving you the desire and need for further growth and to reach your potential. These needs can be met through skill development, education, and self-realization of your potential. You will find the motivation to improve skills in areas like reading, writing, cooking, drawing, or playing a sport. It is essentially the fulfillment of your greatest potential. Without achieving the preceding needs, however, it will be difficult to attain self-actualization needs. Focus on each need and its lessons it will teach you to be fully present in your journey through self-actualization.
Everything I need to succeed in life is already within me
These needs we seek to attain, validate our life experiences for a greater purpose. I believe we should all have the nourishment of physiological needs met, at least! And through the development of achieving each need, we keep growing and learning about ourselves. Be grateful for each part of your journey. You are magic.