The Maslow’s Pyramid is a psychological theory proposed by Abraham Maslow in 1943 that formulates a hierarchy of the human needs and defends that, as the more basic needs are fulfilled, the more human beings develop higher needs and desires. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is represented as a pyramid consisting of five levels, which main idea is that the higher needs occupy our attention only when our basic needs have been fulfilled. That is, we only attend to matters related with self-realization if we are sure that we have a stable job, assured food and a social environment that accept us.
We say that the more someone evolves personally, the higher this person will be in the Maslow’s pyramid scheme, and therefore, finding out what our main concerns are now, will give us an indication of at what level of our personal fulfillment we currently are.
Levels of realization in Maslow’s pyramid:
The first level is about the physiological needs of a person, such as drinking, eating, sleeping etc. They are our more basic instincts and almost everyone in our western society has this level covered. We just need to go to the fridge or take a nap in order to cover our primary needs.
The second level represents the feelings of security. This level is related to the necessity of order in the world, an opportunity to work, to have minimum resources, to fit into the society. A person who finds itself unemployed or that does not have the economic resources to get to the end of the month, will often oscillate at this level until this person feels again the security of a stable income (if this need is felt).
The third level is about social needs, which are related to the will of being in contact with other people. In addition, love, friendship and family belong to this level. If we have friends that take care of us, a family that protect us, a respectful and pleasant working atmosphere, we will have our membership needs covered and probably we will take them unconsciously for granted.
The fourth level is about the need of being appreciated, respected and to feel someone important. Here we enter into higher levels of personal growth, in which we are looking for something else than the simple fact of having our material needs fulfilled. Every person who is well established in the first three levels will use all the energy and efforts to develop and cover these needs of social recognition.
At last, in the highest level, is where the self-realization needs and development of the inner needs are, as well as the spiritual growth, moral, the search of a mission in life, the selfless work and help to others.
It is not a static process
Ascending to one level or going down to the other it is not an irreversible process. All of us spend all of our life, or most of it, moving between levels, according to our external reality (for example, if we have had a very stable life and dedicated to meditation for years, because we had everything that we needed, and suddenly, we find ourselves unemployed, probably our energy and efforts will directly go down from level 5 to level 2, until we restore the needed security from a new job or by achieving a specific social level). This is why it is very much recommended to evaluate which ones of the lower levels needs have not yet been fulfilled in order to dedicate more time to our personal growth. We have to set up priorities and be capable of recognizing what we are lacking, to set our life on a solid basis in which the foundation (the lower levels) are well fixed and secured, so we can head to the last floor of our skyscraper to calmly contemplate what is happening above.