Feeling stuck in a rut is overwhelming, confusing, draining and extremely stressful. Sometimes its hard to imagine how we will ever get out of it.
The human ‘hierarchy of needs’ is a useful, simple and highly effective tool to help us understand why we are stuck, and how to move on. The diagram below shows our needs in order of priority (with our essential requirements shown at the bottom of the pyramid).
Unless those most basic of needs are met, we simply cannot reach the higher levels of self-fulfilment. And once we have reached a level, we may not always remain there.
MOVING THROUGH THE LEVELS: We can find ourselves moving down to the lower levels at certain times in our lives, as our minds may unconsciously abandon the level we are on in order to meet the lower needs.
For example, a major life event such as a redundancy, or a divorce may mean we have to refocus on our financial affairs and find a new home. A feeling of financial and domestic security are the essential building blocks of the pyramid.
Its not always a ‘crisis’ which causes us to refocus on the lower levels. We may be in a relationship, supporting children and a mortgage and find we have grown apart from our partner. The pyramid explains why, as our minds are focusing on meeting the immediate needs of our of young family, and our brains instinctively move away from the ‘intimacy’ level of the pyramid in order to focus on a more primary level of providing for our kids.
The first four levels are instinctively activated when we have a deficit, “a fear of lacking of something”. Self-Actualisation is the only need that the brain seeks solely for self-development.
USING THE PYRAMID: An understanding of this essential 'hierarchy of needs' allows us to manage the anxiety that may come with change in our lives. Once we know what's missing in our lives, and the source of our stress, we can climb out of the rut, and move on more easily.
Take a look and decide which level best describes where you are in your life and where you are not totally fulfilled. Then take actions to meet and secure the needs of the level that are not fully complete. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a tool for transformation. Learn to use it to explore yourself and get out of a life you no longer like. It will help you become the person YOU want to be and also build the right life for YOU.
We can also use the pyramid to help us understand our children’s behaviour and fears. It allows us to give them the tools to meet their basic needs so that they can move up to a higher level. If these needs are not fulfilled during childhood it can lead to trauma and low self-esteem as an adult.
Self development is about becoming comfortable in our skin. These 10 steps will help us meet our needs, move up the pyramid and achieve self accomplishment:
And remember, the journey is IT, so the secret is to make your utmost to have lots of fun on your way there... :) x