Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is one of the most familiar theories of motivation. According to Abraham Maslow, the Hierarchy creator, our actions are motivated to achieve particular needs. As a humanist, Maslow believed that people have an intrinsic desire to be self-actualized or to be all they can.
However, if these ultimate goals are to be achieved, several more basic needs must be met first, like the need for safety, food, self-esteem, and love. We’re going to take a closer look at the Hierarchy of Needs. Read on for more.
Physiological needs sit at the base of the hierarchy. Our basic physiological needs are probably things that you are already familiar with and include essential things to our survival. Some examples are water, food, homeostasis, and breathing.
Moreover, the physiological needs of Maslow’s Hierarchy can include things like clothing and shelter. He also included sexual reproduction on this level since it is an essential process to ensure a species’ propagation and survival.
Safety & Security Needs
As we progress to the second level of the Hierarchy, our requirements become slightly more complex. At this level, safety and security needs become the primary focus.
It is natural for us to want to have order and control in our lives, so our need for safety and security is a large contributor to the behaviors observed at this level. Some examples of basic needs are health and wellness, financial security, and safety from injury and accidents.
Finding a job, being covered by health care and life insurance, moving into a safe neighborhood, and contributing money to a savings account are examples of behaviors motivated by our needs for safety and security.
At the third level, we experience social needs, and on the Hierarchy, these needs are things like acceptance, belonging, and love. The need for emotional connections and relationships are the driving force for human behavior at this level, and some examples of social needs are family, friendships, romantic attachments, community groups, social groups, and religious organizations.
To avoid problems like depression, loneliness, and anxiety, we need to feel accepted and loved by our peers. Personal relationships with family, friends, and lovers are essential to this, as is involvement in other social groups.
At Maslow’s fourth Hierarchy level, the need for appreciation and respect is placed at the forefront. When the previous three levels’ needs have been satisfied, esteem becomes the driving force in human behavior.
Gaining appreciation and respect from others becomes vital at this level. We need to accomplish our goals and have our efforts recognized, and in addition to the need for prestige and accomplishment, esteem must include things like personal worth and self-esteem.
At the apex of the Hierarchy, we experience self-actualization needs. Maslow explained that ‘What a man can be, he must be’ in reference to the need we have to achieve our full potential as humans.
According to his definition of self-actualization, ‘it may be loosely described as the full exploitation and use of capabilities, talents, potentialities, and so on. Such people seem to fulfill themselves and do the best they are capable of. They are people that have developed, or are developing, to the full stature of their capability.’
Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs represents an essential shift in psychology. Rather than merely focusing on development and abnormal behavior, Maslow’s humanistic practice was focused on developing healthy humans.