Understanding Abraham Maslow

Understanding Abraham Maslow

 Abraham Maslow had a saying “If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” It is similar to the concept of what is called scarcity, if there is abundance of that particular item you do not find the urgency to get it, but when there is scarcity or limited supply of that item, the intensity of wanting it becomes more. It just like water, staying beside a reservoir, that would be no necessity of worrying about water, but if now we are placed in a desert, the craving for water increases. Abraham Harold Maslow (April 1, 1908 – June 8, 1970) was an American psychologist. He is noted for his conceptualization of a “hierarchy of human needs”, and is considered the father of humanistic psychology.

 Let us take a look at the bottom, the base need, the Physiological needs which are biogical needs and they consist of needs for air, oxygen, food, sleep, sex, shelter, water, and a relatively constant body temperature. Anything the physical organism needs to survive .This is the basic need of the body. It must be satisfied to remain alive, it is very fundamental life or death needs. When these are not satisfied, we feel discomfort and this feeling would motivate us to alleviate it as soon as possible to establish homeostasis. Once it is alleviated, we will think about other things. They are actually the strongest needs because if a person were deprived of all these needs, the physiological ones would come first in the person’s search for satisfaction. A person’s needs for food, water and shelter are some of the specific needs within this level.”…it seems impossible as well as useless to make any list of fundamental physiological needs, for they can come to almost any number one might wish, depending on the degree of specificity of description.”.

 When all physiological needs are satisfied and are no longer controlling thoughts and behaviors, the needs for security can become active. This would be the safety needs. Life is an ongoing process of choosing between safety which would be doing things out of fear and having a need for defence and risk in order to for the sake of progress and growth.

Safety needs have to do with establishing stability and consistency in a chaotic world as an individual is concerned about safety and security. Adults have relatively little awareness of their security needs except in times of emergency or periods of disorganization in the social structure as good example would be during a widespread rioting. Children often display the signs of insecurity and the need to be safe. People generally need a social security in a family and it would be a society that protects against hunger and violence. Protection against danger is important. For most people or individuals, long-term job security is important. Another aspect would be unfair and harsh working conditions violate the safety needs of an individual. Safety needs at work could include physical safety; an example would be protective clothing as well as protection against unemployment, loss of income through sickness. “If the physiological needs are relatively well gratified, there then emerges a new set of needs, which we may categorize roughly as the safety needs.” These needs generally are mostly psychological in nature. When we have all physiological needs being satisfied and they are no longer controlling thoughts and behaviors, the seed for the need for security will become active. Take for example if we have a family is dysfunctional such as an abusive husband, the wife cannot move to the next level because she would be constantly consumed and concerned for her safety. Love and belongingness will have to wait until she is no longer cringing in fear. Safety needs sometimes motivate people to be religious. Religions comfort us with the promise of a safe secure place after we die. These are other example of our safety needs such as security and stability. There would also be a sense of dependency, having the need for protection, being free from fear, anxiety, and chaos, the necessity to have structure, order, law, and limits, we would be in search for the strength in the protector who could enforce safety and security.

  Next on the list of needs would be love, belonging and the social needs. As when the needs for safety and for physiological well-being are satisfied, the next class of needs for love, affection and belongingness can emerge. Maslow states that people seek to overcome feelings of alienation and loneliness. This would involve both giving and receiving love, affection and the sense of belonging. The need for love, affection, and a sense of belonging are part of social needs. Relationships in the workplace are important to individuals. T-E-A-M – Together everyone achieves more, through group work and being member of teams enable individuals to have their social needs met. Many Organizations encourage group involvement and participation as other means of satisfying the social need. Social needs recognize that most people want to belong to a group. These would include the need for love and belonging and some examples of this would be working with colleagues who support you at work, teamwork, communication, clubs, work groups, religious groups, family, gangs, and so forth. We all need to feel loved by others, to be accepted by family, friends, society and others. We need to be needed and this involves giving and receiving. “If both the physiological and the safety needs are fairly well gratified, there will emerge the love and affection and belongingness needs, and the whole cycle already described will repeat itself with this new center. The love needs involve giving and receiving affection. When they are unsatisfied, a person will feel keenly the absence of friends, mate, or children. Such a person will hunger for relations with people in general ~ for a place in the group or family ~ and will strive with great intensity to achieve this goal. Attaining such a place will matter more than anything else in the world and he or she may even forget that once, when hunger was foremost, love seemed unreal, unnecessary, and unimportant. Now the pangs of loneliness, ostracism, rejection and friendlessness are preeminent.”

  When the first three classes of needs are satisfied, the needs for esteem can become dominant. Yes my friend the esteem need and these needs for both self-esteem and for the esteem a person get from others. One of the need human beings thrive for is having a need for a stable, firmly based, high level of self-respect, and respect from others. When these needs are satisfied, the person would gain and feel a great sense of self-confidence and valuable as a person in the world. When he comes into a situation when these needs are frustrated, the person feels inferior, weak, helpless and worthless. There would be a need to be a unique individual with self-respect and to enjoy general esteem from others. Some of these needs would include internal and external esteem factors. Internal esteem factors include self-respect, autonomy, recognition and achievement. External esteem factors include recognition and status. It could also be classified to two needs and it involves needs for both self-esteem and for the esteem a person gets from others. First is self-esteem which results from the mastery or competence. Basically to be good in what you do and secondly there is the recognition and attention that comes from others. This is similar to the belongingness level; however, wanting admiration has to do with the need for glory, fame and power. People, who have all of their lower needs satisfied, often drive very luxurious expensive cars because doing so raises their level of esteem. It is about the image that we would like to portray or display. “All people in our society (with a few pathological exceptions) have a need or desire for a stable, firmly based, usually high evaluation of themselves, for self-respect or self-esteem, and for the esteem of others. These needs may therefore be classified into two subsidiary sets. These are, first, the desire for strength, achievement, adequacy, mastery and competence, confidence in the face of the world, and independence and freedom. Second, we have what we may call the desire for reputation or prestige (defining it as respect or esteem from other people), status, fame and glory, dominance, recognition, attention, importance, dignity, or appreciation.” “Satisfaction of the self-esteem need leads to feelings of self-confidence, worth, strength, capability, and adequacy, of being useful and necessary in the world. But thwarting of these needs produces feelings of inferiority, of weakness, and of helplessness.” “The most stable and therefore most healthy self-esteem is based on deserved respect from others rather than on external fame or celebrity and unwarranted adulation.”

Last but not least, we have the Self-actualization need. As Abraham Maslow had a saying – “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself.”Don’t be like the person who has got each foot on a different boat, if the boats go in different direction, you risk of falling into the river. It is very important to eexperience things fully, maximizing each and every experience it a vivid and selfless manner. Dive into the experiencing of something and be totally immersed, let in absorb you totally and concentrate on it fully with all your energy and effort.Make the growth choice a dozen times a day. When all of the foregoing needs are satisfied, then and only then are the needs for self-actualization activated. Maslow describes self-actualization as a person’s need to be and do that which the person was “born to do.” “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, and a poet must write.” These needs make themselves felt in signs of restlessness. The person feels like he or she is placed on the edge, tense, lacking something, in short, restless. If a person is hungry, unsafe, not loved or accepted, or lacking self-esteem, it is very easy to know what the person is restless about. There would be clear visible indication. It is not always clear what a person wants when there is a need for self-actualization. Individuals want to achieve growth, and achieve one’s potential. Self-actualization is about how people think about themselves – this is often measured by the extent of success and/or challenge at work. Some of the self-actualization indication would be the need for Vitality, creativity, self-sufficiency, Authenticity, playfulness, meaningfulness, Experience purpose, meaning and realizing all inner potentials. It focuses on self-fulfillment of individuals. The need for self-actualization is “the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming.” People who have everything can maximize their potential. They can seek knowledge, peace, esthetic experiences, self-fulfillment, and oneness with God, etc. It is usually middle-class to upper-class people or students, who take up environmental causes, join the world peace organizations, go off to a pilgrim or monastery.”Even if all these needs are satisfied, we may still often (if not always) expect that a new discontent and restlessness will soon develop, unless the individual is doing what he or she, individually, is fitted for. Musicians must make music, artists must paint, and poets must write if they are to be ultimately at peace with themselves. What humans can be, they must be. They must be true to their own nature. This need we may call self-actualization.”  Maslow later redefined self-actualization as a function of frequency of peak experiences. Some pointers for self actualization would be to find out who you are, what you are, what you like and don’t like, what is good and what is bad for you, where you are going, what your vision, mission and goals are. Opening yourself up to yourself, trying to understand oneself by this way means identifying defences, finding faults, bad habits and then finding the courage to give them up or eliminating or minimizing them from your system. It is good to self emerge oneself and trying to block or shut out the negative or external factors as to what you should think, feel, say, and so on, and let your experience enable you to say what you truly feel. When in doubt, be truthful and honest to yourself. If you look into yourself with integrity and honesty, you will also take ownership and responsibility. Taking responsibility is self-actualizing. The self talk helps. Listen to your own inner voice. With your unique ability of intelligence, work to do well the things you want to do, no matter how insignificant they seem to be. Every drop amounts to a great ocean and a small leak can sink a great ship.Make peak experiencing more likely and eliminate or get rid of illusions and false notions. Find out your strengths and weaknesses and learn what you are good at and what your potentialities are not.

Source by santhanaram

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