Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow was a psychologist in the twentieth century who pioneered the humanistic approach to psychology. He is best known for his hierarchy of needs.

Maslow believed that human wants may be structured into a hierarchy, in order to better understand what motivates people.

This hierarchy includes everything from basic needs like food and water to more complex ideals like self-fulfilment.

When a lower need is met, the following needs in the hierarchy become our centre of attention, according to Maslow. These are the five categories of needs according to Maslow:

Physiological

Physiological needs – these are biological need for human survival, such as air, food, drink, shelter, clothes, warmth, sex, and sleep, to name a few.

If these requirements are not met, the human body will not function optimally.

Physiological requirements, according to Maslow, are the most important of human wants.

If a person is lacking in more than one need, they will most likely prioritise meeting their physiological needs.

When someone is extremely hungry, for example, it is difficult to concentrate on anything else.

The requirement for proper sleep is another example of a physiological need.

Safety

The next demand that arises once people’s physiological needs are addressed is a safe environment.

Our safety needs are evident as early as childhood, since children have a desire for safe and predictable situations, and when they are not provided, they often react with fear or worry.

Safety requirements are more obvious in emergency situations (e.g., war and disasters) in adults living in industrialised countries, according to Maslow, but this need might also explain why we choose the familiar or why we buy insurance and contribute to a savings account.

Love and Belonging

Feeling loved and accepted, according to Maslow, is the next need in the hierarchy.

This requirement includes romantic relationships as well as friendships and family ties.

It also encompasses our desire to be a part of a social group.

This urge, it is worth noting, covers both feeling loved and loving others.

Researchers have continued to investigate how love and belonging needs affect well-being since Maslow’s time.

For example, having social ties is linked to improved physical health, whereas feeling lonely (i.e., having unfulfilled belonging needs) has negative health and well-being repercussions.

Esteem

The urge to feel good about ourselves is one of our esteem demands.

Maslow defines esteem requirements as having two components.

The first entails having self-assurance and a positive attitude toward oneself.

The second component is to feel valued by others, i.e., to believe that our accomplishments and efforts have been acknowledged by others.

People feel secure and regard their contributions and accomplishments as significant and meaningful when their esteem requirements are addressed.

When their esteem needs are not met, individuals may experience “feelings of inferiority,” as psychologist Alfred Adler put it.

Self-Actualization

Self-actualization refers to a sense of fulfilment or living up to one’s full potential.

One distinguishing element of self-actualization is that it takes on diverse forms for different people.

Self-actualization may entail assisting others for one person, while it may entail success in an artistic or creative sector for another.

Self-actualization is defined as the sense of doing what we believe we were born to do.

Maslow claims that self-actualization is a rare occurrence, citing Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, and Mother Teresa as instances of notable self-actualized people.

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