Inspirational thoughts on the pyramid of needs

Becoming more grateful for what we have in life

Being happy with what we have in life, and accepting what we don’t have, are some of the basic stepping-stones for contentment; and being satisfied with yourself, our values, dreams, our body and who we are as a person is the foundation of happiness.

When we manage to believe in those very simple, yet very important life philosophies, not only do we build a stronger life force, but we further eliminate negative self-worth and improve our outlook on life.

We do not become better people because we wear the newest fashion, have the newest gadgets, have a body like a model, live in a fancy neighborhood or drive in the newest car, but what we believe is, that if we acquire this kind of “wealth” other people will look at us as being successful, while the reality is that our inner happiness and our inner life force can not be bought, can not be measured in material things. Our inner stability comes from accepting who, where and what we are at any given moment in life.

Years ago, in school we were taught about “Maslow hierarchy of needs” and still today, it stands out very well, describing the pattern of motivations which humans generally move through, and it must be said, humans are complex people, hence different levels of the hierarchy can occur at any given moment of time.

The hierarchy of needs is represented as a pyramid with the basic needs in the bottom. Maslow’s theory suggests that the most basic level of needs, the physiological and safety level, must be satisfied before the individual will have any desire or motivation to move to the next level of needs.


The physiological needs (1), which basically is the survival state of living, arrives from having enough food, water, and sleep. This is the basic needs for existence. Living with the lack of these, all our attention and all our focus will solely be directed on how to obtain the basic needs for survival. Only when all physiological needs are continuously met will the survival state of mind start to relax, and we progress slowly to the next level, our safety needs.

In our safety needs (2), our motivation is to improve our life situation, we now have no more worries for survival and our animal instincts subside. Our inner resources grow and we start to have needs to improve our life condition. We need a job, a place to live and we wish for financial stability. Thoughts for tomorrow and hopes start to grow and slowly dreams of the future appear. We have expanded our life force and have now the capacity to explore our own emotional needs.

Research shows that when people live their lives different from their true nature and capabilities, they are less likely to be happy.

People are not born to be alone, we are all social creatures (3) although we can debate that some of us have a bigger needs to socialize than others. Despite being an introvert or extrovert we all need to belong somewhere, we have desires to be valued, respected and to be loved and to love.

We value and treasure friendships, we are social and not only do we take part in society, we become the society. We have defined ourselves within our circle and have found the equilibrium. We feel emotional secure (4) and we begin to develop our self, we have the resources, we are confident, we set expectations, we have goals and become achievers.

When are in this stage of the pyramid we create our own future, we have choices, make decisions and see opportunities, we live and feel alive, all our basic and mental needs are met and slowly we move up to the self-actualization level (5), where we perceive ourselves as we are, not as we would be preferred to be perceived, but just as we are.

The self-actualization level is the highest level of self-acceptance, and if any, possible shortcomings are not seen as shortcomings at all, but simply as personal characteristics.

Living at this level we have control of our own life, we make up our own mind, we are responsible for ourselves, our destiny and we often even become spiritual engaged searching for more clarity and understanding of the being.

Problems there might occur are never based on self-doubt and or other people opinion about us, we are strong and confident within our selves. When we make mistakes, we never look at it as a failure, but merely as part of growing and learning to develop our self.

Despite all this, people are not perfect, we can be perfectionist but never perfect, and rarely does people stay at the top-level of self actualization, we move up and down the emotional ladder every day depending of one owns strong inner equilibrium and outside circumstances, and sometimes we even move in parallel motions.

One moment life feels just perfect, and then suddenly we receive some kind of news there affect our life condition and with a glimpse of an eye our life situation has changed, and the priorities, which was high-ranked yesterday are less important today as our safety net has slipped below us.

Now we move downwards in the pyramids and we become fighters, we fight to overcome our new obstacles, we fight with our own despair and sadness, we worry, we feel pain, we live in the dark with hunger for what we have lost and only with time when we are able to accept our current situation can we once again progress ahead and upwards. Life is a learning curve every single day and only with reflection and attempt to understand our behavior and thoughts do we learn our own needs and developments.

Self actualiztion is when we become the best we can be, accepting who we are and where we are in life. We realize our maximum potential and possibilities and live in harmony with our selves. We create deep relationships and become efficient in how we perceive reality, we accept other people, appreciate life, and are guided by our own inner goals and values and we express emotions freely.

It takes a lot of effort to maintain an inner contentment as we get so affected by the outside world, hence it is important to find that safe haven in one self, where we can seek refuge when things unexpectedly change direction, and they will. We know that throughout life we will move in the pyramid and have to accept that life has its ups and downs, but if we take all good and bad experiences as a learning curve, and we at the same time learn from it, we have created a stronger self and a knowledge to improve daily situation while maintaining passion for life.
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Copyright 2017 Captain Lis wellness blog

Originally posted 2017-01-07 12:00:58.    Send article as PDF   

2 thoughts on “Inspirational thoughts on the pyramid of needs

  1. Thore Thorolvsen says:

    A very well written artcle. This should be read by all of us as it will remind us of whom we ate, where we are coming from and where we want to be as it also to an extend explain and why we react as we do.
    Just one other comment or suggestion, I think there is many of our countrymen that will prefer to read the article in our commen native language, Danish/Norwegian.
    Your husband

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