Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow was an early 20th century psychologist. He was important because unusually in a psychologist he looked at what drove the positive qualities in people. He was the father of what became known as “humanist psychology.”

What is self-actualisation

Maslow developed a pyramid of six layers. The highest layer being “self-actualisation.” Self actualisation is living life to your full potential.

He agreed with Dr. David Hawkins that you have to meet your initial needs for food clothes and shelter before you can look at any form of self-development.

If you like, it’s a bit like the cynics guide to the law of attraction. It doesn’t work for everyone, and the reason it doesn’t work is that some people have to spend most of their time just simply providing security. They have no time or energy left over to develop themselves.

When we are full of shame or guilt, Our energy density is so low they cannot put any energy into raising their energy.

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs


Psychological Needs

These are at the bottom, and they are the most basic requirements for all living beings. They are the necessities of life. Water, air, and food. Every living creature will die if we are of these for long periods.

It also includes basic needs of temperature control or honest artists in human beings. The ability to excrete toxins. Sleep and rest and even sex. If you think about this, it’s all of the things we need to survive.

One-eighth of the world’s population do not have clean water in their homes or sufficient food to feed their families.

These psychological needs are sometimes not met when there is no lack. Some parents use food deprivation as a punishment. Later in life, you may be driven to seek food even when your body isn’t hungry.

The modern research studied the effects of the potato famines in Ireland in the 19th century. They have concluded that a significant reason why people are obese in Ireland as a result of this famine. People are literally born with an innate drive to eat. It’s as if once exposed to famine we can never forget its effects!

Safety Needs

Safety basically means shelter. It involves some form of shelter from the elements. It means clothes and a sense of the familiar.

According to Maslow if you do not have money to be able to pay for the most basic of shelter, then your safety needs are not being met. You also need the necessary clothing which has to be warm enough for the climate you live in. This does not mean clothes that you buy by choice but the clothes that you need to have by necessity. You also need to have sufficient money to be able to provide the mechanisms to get food. That means access to shops or markets to pay for the food and pay for the transport there and back.

Many adults have a sense of psychological insecurity. They have a dread that something catastrophic is going to happen.

Also when things change in life, you feel unsafe and insecure. Major traumatic events such as divorce, or widowhood can have this effect. It can also be caused by losing your job.

Meeting your safety needs implies that you have a level of control over the events in your life. For instance, if you lose your job, you have some money behind you to pay the bills until you find another one.

Love and Belonging

A sense of belonging initially starts in a family environment. As you grow older and go to school, then it expands to friends, to your church, social groups, and any activities in a group setting.

In an ideal world as a child, you will be surrounded by unconditional love. You will have felt loved and cherished by multitudes of people. This acceptance will have nurtured you and allowed you to become a mentally stable adult.

When you have had this, you were able to give this on conditional love to other youngsters who are in need of guidance. You do not need to be bolstered by other people.

In the real world, your parents probably did their best. They may have been too young, too pressurized by lack of money or too immature to have given you that unconditional love. On the other hand, they may have been deprived of that unconditional love themselves and not know how to show it to other people list of all the children.

This is one of the reasons why as adults many of us fear to be alone. We feel accepted in social groups.


We achieve the fourth level when we can begin to reflect on, acknowledge and be proud of what we have accomplished. It is the level when people start not only to accept us but to praise us and recognize our competences. It implies a level of achievement and a level of status. Once we have reached this level, we have begun to arrive!

Levels of Self-Esteem Control Our Behaviours

The level of self esteem that we have in our lives influences all of our public behaviors. These are the behaviors that are witnessed by others. Most adults need to seek the approval of others. We need to justify and validate our behaviors. Quite often this is a result of feeling slighted in childhood. This is a feeling all of us of experience to lesser and greater degrees.

The majority of people who use Facebook or Instagram or any other form of social media on a daily basis are actually begging for this self esteem. What they are asking people who follow them is “look at how great I am” and “acknowledge how great I am.”

This is because we are our own harshest self critics. Many of us judge ourselves exceptionally harshly. We display behavior towards ourselves which just would not be acceptable if we were to behave that way to others.

We lack self-compassion. To some extent, this comes from the accumulation of all the judgments during our growing up years. Our parents, grandparents, friends, peers and virtually everyone we’ve ever met has judged us.

At some point, all of these judgments are lacking, and they have made the mark on our subconscious.

What Do These First Four Levels Mean?

These first four levels are known as deficit needs. We are motivated and driven if we do not at least get these first four levels balanced in our lives.

Maslow himself stated that you needed certain freedoms to accomplish these levels. They include freedom of speech. The ability to express ourselves openly and be heard. Another important aspect is the ability and freedom to access new information.

However, these freedoms are external freedoms we need to look inside at internal freedoms to create change.

Tomorrow we will discuss the top needs in the Maslow hierarchy.