I met a man who was going through a very difficult time in his life. He was intelligent, funny, handsome. We had similar backgrounds and families. But he had lost his job, his home, and all of his possessions due to few bad decisions and even more bad luck. But none of that mattered to me. I was crazy about him.
When he stopped texting me I was heartbroken. Mutual friends told me that he liked me, but that he wasn’t at a place in his life when he could start a relationship or even date.
It made sense. I remembered a theory I’d read, about how a person had to have certain needs met before they could move on to getting their next set of needs met. Tonight, I stumbled across that theory online.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
This psychological theory is illustrated in the diagram above. It basically says that a person’s primary needs like food and shelter, shown on the bottom level of the pyramid, must be met in order for them to get to the next level.
And once the needs on the second level are met, they can continue up. The highest level is reached by the most successful, happiest, fulfilled people. Some call the highest level “enlightenment”.
I like how he included “excretion” on the first level. Yep, that’s a basic need too! (I had to look up “homeostasis”).
This theory, originated in the 1950’s, was supposed to be about motivation. I see it as more of a guide that can help me prioritize things when my life gets off track. I don’t know why but sometimes I forget the big picture.
Why am I putting so much effort into doing creative hobbies or socializing when I haven’t been eating or sleeping right for days?
Now when I see a homeless person, I see them differently. How can anyone expect him or her to find a job or have a sense of self-esteem when they haven’t eaten? Or they have no address/ID/family?
When your basic needs aren’t met, you’ll have a hard time reaching that next level. It’s not impossible. Just unlikely.
Part of being a grown up is doing that basic stuff, like brushing your teeth, or getting to bed on time, even when you don’t feel like it.