Exploring Maslow’s Hiearchy of Needs

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

The unconscious desires and needs of each individual: that’s the definition of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. 

Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist dedicated to helping people reach their full potential through positive thinking. He created a way to establish what people need in order to reach their full potential. These needs are broken down into five categories or stages. According to  Maslow , the first need that we have is a physiological need. Then, a need for safety. Then we have a need to be accepted socially. The second last need is a need for esteem. And the final need is a need for self-actualization. How do we get to that place? That place of fulfilling our highest need as a human? We first have to start somewhere, from the bottom up.

The Physiological Need

These needs include the need for air, sleep, water, food, sex and everything else that is a basic need for our survival. As free individuals living in a democratic country such as Canada, the greater majority of us have these basic needs met each day.

The Need for Safety

This need involves safety of self (or feeling safe in your community or at home), security of your job, a roof over your head and having a law and order system in place. Canada is a country with law and order system that creates a safe society where the law is upheld. Unfortunately, many, but not all Canadians, have the privilege of living with a roof over their heads and a secure and stable career. This could be unfilled due to a number of factors such as the economic downfall in 2008, or an unstable upbringing where a person was not provided with a home by their parents. This could even be an unfulfilled need due to an unstable adulthood, where the person might not be able to work, or they might be a victim of substance abuse and living on the street without an opportunity to recover.

The Social Need

This need is characterized by a person’s feeling of belongingness. This need is fulfilled when a person has friendships, relationships and love. This need is satisfied when people have affection shown to them and meaningful interactions with friends, family and with co-workers, as well as intimacy. Everyone has a family, but some people never get to know their family in a loving, affectionate way. As students living in Canada, we are mostly fortunate to have teachers and classmates that are interested in our opinions and listen to what we have to say.

The Need of Self-Esteem

This need has more to do with our relationship with ourselves. This need is fulfilled when we have self-respect, when we achieve certain goals in our lives, when we have independence, when we have a high level of self-confidence in ourselves. This need can be fulfilled over time, as children become adults and find their place in the world, find what they are meant to do and be and learn about themselves. Self-esteem generally comes as we mature. For example, finally finishing a degree that has taken four or more years of hard work and dedication is one way to fill the need for self-esteem. Only one person could work that hard to earn that degree and that is ourselves.

The Need for Self-Actualization

This need has a person realizing their full potential and striving for that potential. The person who has filled their need for self-actualization pushes for personal growth. In order to achieve this level of need, one must have reached the maximum fill in all of the other needs.

This five-level process is a positive system to look at and to try and achieve in our lives in order to be the best possible versions of ourselves that we can be.

Sascia Smith-Jensen

Sascia is a second-year journalism student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. In between her schooling, she has worked at CTV Newsroom in Vancouver as an intern on the news desk, as well as with Lynda Steele. She would like to eventually work in the field of communications and public relations. In her spare time, Sascia enjoys singing in a Vancouver based gospel choir as well as staying active and helping in her community.

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