“The fact is that people are good. Give people affection and security, and they will give affection and be secure in their feelings and their behaviour.” – Abraham Maslow

Abraham Maslow’s theory on the hierarchical needs is categorized into 5 parts. By taking a deeper dive into them, we can see that Maslow categorized these needs in levels of importance. In order to achieve meeting the needs at the top of the hierarchy, the needs at the bottom first must be met. 

Physiological Needs

These are at the bottom of the hierarchy. They are biological requirements for human survival such as air, food, shelter, clothing, warmth, sex, sleep. If these needs are not properly met, the body cannot function. All other needs are secondary until the physiological needs are met.

Safety Needs

Once the physiological needs are met, the need for security becomes primal. People need to feel some sort of order in their lives and be able to fulfill this need. Some ways they can fulfill this need is through family and society, and being able to access medical care, schools, and receive protection from the police.

Love and Belonging Needs

After the first two categories have been fulfilled, people need to feel a sense of love and belonging. The need for interpersonal relationships motivates behaviour. 

Esteem Needs

The fourth need is classified into two categories (1) esteem for oneself (dignity, achievement, independence) and (2) the desire for reputation and respect from others (status, prestige). Maslow indicates that the need for respect is most important for children and is valued higher than real self-esteem.

Self-actualization Needs

This is the highest level in Maslow’s hierarchy and refers to the realization of a person’s potential. Trying to completely fulfill this need is trying to be the best you can be. 

When a child’s needs are not met, they are not able to achieve self-actualization. This means that children who suffer from Complex Trauma are set up for failure and are not able to be the best that they can be.

“When people appear to be something other than good and decent, it is often because they are reacting to stress, pain, or the depreciation of basic human needs such as security, love, and self-esteem.”

When a child is acting out, we must look beyond the surface to see what they are reacting to. When an adult is acting out, it is often them reacting to trauma that they have already suffered as a child. We need to think about what more immediate needs of their inner child were not met, and how they’re responding to similar triggers today.

Are you struggling to have your daily biological needs met? Please reach out and get the real healing you are searching for!

With Love,

Tim Fletcher