Sunday, October 14, 2012

I want, but I do not I need

We want a lot of things. Nice cars, fancy clothes, recreational vehicles, fun vacations.

"What do you want for Christmas?" will be the question from our lips as the holiday approaches and we begin shopping for gifts.

Want, want, want.

But what do we need?

Back in 1943, American psychologist Abraham Maslow, pushed a paper entitled "A Theory of Human Motivation." In that paper he outlined a five-tiered hierarchy of needs.

Physiological needs are the most basic: air, water, and food are metabolic requirements for survival. Protection in the form of clothing and shelter. Sleep! We all need sleep, which contributes to homeostasis, or a biological balance.

Safety and Security are the needs of the next tier and include: Personal security, financial security, health and well-being.

The third layer of needs include feelings of belongingness. This need is very strong during our childhood. So strong, in fact, that it can over-ride the need for safety. Belonging includes:
Friendship, Intimacy and Family.  Meeting the the need to belong is where cliques and gangs are formed.

Esteem. One of our greatest needs is to be respected and to have self-esteem and self-respect. Maslow noted two versions of esteem needs, a lower one and a higher one. The lower one is the need for the respect of others, the need for status, recognition, fame, prestige, and attention. The higher one is the need for self-respect, the need for strength, competence, mastery, self-confidence, independence and freedom. Deprivation of these needs can lead to an inferiority complex, weakness and helplessness.
“What a man can be, he must be,” is how Maslow described the basis of the perceived need for self-actualization. Maslow describes it as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming.

Some psychologists add self-transcendence -- the ability to rise above one's self-actualization -- as the true final need.

Now, armed with this knowledge, I ask you: "What do you need?"

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