Understanding our needs with Abraham Maslow’s pyramid
The psychologist Abraham Maslow theorized our needs in the form of a pyramid. This allows us to know whether our needs are fulfilled or not. These needs are at the origin of our well-being and our malaise. Hence, it is important to understand the different hierarchical levels of needs:
- 🍔 Our physiological needs: Let’s start with the base of the pyramid, our vital needs. They are physical, such as hunger, thirst, breathing, shelter, sleep, sexuality, etc. If they are not fulfilled, our lives can be in danger (e.g. not getting food).
- 🏠 Our security needs: This is our physical and psychological security, which implies being in a stable social, family and professional environment.
- 👨👩👧 Our needs to belong: We all need to feel loved by our close ones and accepted by a community with which we identify.
- ❤️ Our esteem needs: This is about bringing love to ourselves, which is the starting point for self-acceptance. All of this is related to the desire for success, control and skills, self-confidence, independence, etc.
- 💪 Our needs for fulfillment: To be fully happy, we need to fulfil ourselves completely and be always looking for ourselves by learning new things, developing our values, being creative, etc.
A fear in childhood that wasn’t secured
Fear is directly related to the need for security and protection at the second level of the pyramid. When a need isn’t sufficiently fulfilled, it generates negative emotions such as sadness and anger. This is also when fears and anxieties appear, like my fear of abandonment. Usually, a fear arises because a need for security wasn’t fulfilled during childhood. This happens in particular because of an unstable, even unpredictable family environment with regular crises.
😰 We must therefore look to our childhood to understand where some of our fears come from, such as the fear of not being loved.
Not being able to access other needs
The psychologist Carl Rogers explained the following: as long as someone feels insecure, they can’t the time and strength to look for love and belonging. This means that we can’t be happy and turn to others until our need for security is fulfilled. The fear will always be there and will prevent us from moving towards others and even to your own happiness. It’s often because of this fear that we feel rejected and the feeling of exclusion appears.
How to get rid of this fear?
It’s important to identify which need for security hasn’t been fulfilled in order to get rid of this fear. Indeed, when applied to childhood, full satisfaction of needs allows us to flourish. As an adult, it makes us a happy, health and stable person. That’s why it’s important to learn to identify the unfulfilled needs to give us inner peace🧘♀️.
Understand to be satisfied
When we’ve understood the unmet needs, we’re able to put plans of action into place in order to fulfil them. Our mind is freed from the pollution of our anxieties. Frustration, stress and fear decrease, even disappear altogether as the need has been recognized. It’s therefore not a question of simply managing our emotions, but of understanding what may have had an impact on us in the past in order to be satisfied. This is therapeutic work to be done with a professional who will offer us cognitive therapy (CBT).
Editor’s note: Ask yourself how you can fulfil this need
Once you’ve understood that fear is just an unfulfilled need for security, everything seems easier! So ask yourself how you can fulfil this need? Sometimes it can be little things, for example, if you’re afraid of hurting yourself when you start a new sport, wearing a helmet or knee pads can be enough to fulfil this need for security. Our experiences are often the cause of our fears, which is why you mustn’t hesitate to contact a psychologist in order to take stock and find solutions together.
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