You might have heard people talk about their needs being (or not being) met. How can you meet your own needs?
Let’s start with looking at what we might mean by that.
Abraham Maslow came up with his “Hierarchy of Needs” in 1943. He thought that they could be sorted into 5 categories – Physiological, Safety, Love/Belonging, Esteem and Self-Actualisation. This is usually shown as a triangle or pyramid with Physiological at the bottom and Self-Actualisation at the top. Maslow thought the needs in each layer had to be fulfilled before someone could go to the next one up.
Physiological: shelter, food, warmth, air. These are the very basic needs to physically survive.
Safety: security in body/health/employment/money/housing.
Love/Belonging: friends, family, a social group.
Esteem: confidence, a sense of achievement, being respected and valued by self and others.
Self-Actualisation: a sense of achieving and living at your fullest potential.
There has been some criticism that Maslow’s work does not apply to all societies and cultures, and that the order of the levels does not apply to all people. However, it might still serve as an introduction to thinking about what your needs specifically are and how to meet them. What would you put in each of the levels? Are those needs being met for you? Are you looking for someone else to meet them, or can you think of ways to meet them yourself?
You might then move on from the things you need to the things you desire.
A “Life Wheel” tool such as this one might help you to focus on what is missing in your life. You might find that some things outweighs others – which can give you a prompt to check if you are happy with that.
Everyone’s needs and desires are different, so the ways they are met are different for everybody. By understanding our own needs and desires, and how we can meet them, we can also think about how we can help others to do the same.