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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs

In doing some research on basic human needs and hierarchies of needs, I found out that there are different ideas and debates on the topic. I will attempt to break a few of the different theories down over a series of posts. 
Today, let's discuss Abraham Maslow.  It seems as if his theory is one of the more well known ones. It has been altered some with the addition of a few steps on the pyramid since it's debut in Maslow's 1943 paper, A Theory of Human Motivation, but let's focus on the original theory for now.
First, what does Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs say...
To lay it down gently, "this hierarchy suggests that people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before moving on to other, more advanced needs."
In the diagram below, you can see how Maslow breaks these needs down...
Our most basic needs begin at the bottom with Physiological needs.  Physiological needs include the needs that are critical for survival (food, water, air, sleep).  Maslow believed that all other needs are secondary until the physiological needs are met.
Safety/Security needs are important for survival but are not as critical as physiological needs.  Examples of these types of needs include desire for steady employment, living in safe neighborhood, and shelter from the environment.
Social needs "include needs for belonging, love, and affection. Maslow described these needs as less basic than physiological and security needs. Relationships such as friendships, romantic attachments, and families help fulfill this need for companionship and acceptance, as does involvement in social, community, or religious groups."
"After the first three needs have been satisfied, esteem needs becomes increasingly important. These include the need for things that reflect on self-esteem, personal worth, social recognition, and accomplishment."
"Self-Actualizing needs are the highest level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Self-actualizing people are self-aware, concerned with personal growth, less concerned with the opinions of others, and interested fulfilling their potential."

Again, in order to reach the top of the pyramid of needs, the step below it must first be fulfilled.  Sometimes this can be challenging for some to achieve.
My thoughts.... I am still reading and researching other theories, but I am interested in where this desire that I have for a home fall in this pyramid?  It is there I think in the safety/security needs as well as in social needs.  I guess before I can determine the answer to that, I have to ask...
What is home?  Is it a place?  Is it a feeling???  Is it family? Friends? Relationships?  Is it on Earth?
I think, I long for a place. A physical place.  That is home, but so are the people and the feelings and the relationships.  I don't think I am the only one who experiences these feelings. 
I have recently reconnected with someone who is becoming a very dear friend to me.  I knew this person from a previous and brief meeting 3 years ago, but didn't really know much else about this person.  Yet, there was something about this person that was comfortable. We hit it off immediately!  I felt like I had known this person for my entire life.  I could be honest and chat.  It felt safe.  This person felt the same way about me.  This person said to me, "it feels like home with you."  The feelings were mutual. I felt the same way, but what a way to put it, "it feels like home with you."
Hmmm... that has gotten me to thinking about what home means even more.  I wrote in a previous post, that I found comfort in the objects that dear people in my life had given to me.  Notes. Tins. Pottery. Postcards.  I wrote that those things brought me comfort, because they were the people that were closest to me in my life.  They were like my family.  So I am still asking the question is home a place, friends, family, feelings?  Maybe it is just a combination of all of these things?  I have this feeling and notion that it is something that will never be completely fulfilled here.  Yet, we continue to search for it.... Why and what is that?
According to Maslow and other psychologists as I will explore further later, these things we desire are basic human needs.
Works Cited



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