Maslows Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs was proposed by Abraham Maslow in 1968, it is his theory that a person’s basic needs must be satisfied before we can focus on those that are more abstract (Wood, 2013). The Hierarchy is usually displayed as a pyramid with the basic needs at the bottom and the more complex needs at the top. The bottom starts with an individual’s physical needs such as air, food, water the things needed to survive. As humans communication is also needed to survive, because it helps us to be able to meet physical needs for ourselves and for others.

For example an infant could not survive without communication they cannot do for their self so they have to alert others when they are in pain, hungry or just want some attention which is also a very important need to be met in order for them to learn and thrive (Wood, 2013). My son is 9 months old and I must meet his physical needs every day in order for him to survive, I must feed, clothe, change, and play with him. When he cries that is how he alerts me that he is ready to eat, needs to be changed, played with or he is sick/in pain.

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Once a person’s lower level of needs is met they can move on to their next level of needs which are their needs for safety and security (Cherry, 2013). The need for safety and protection are also met through communication, these needs are important for survival but they are not as demanding as the physical needs for example we want to have a steady job, a home that keeps us sheltered from the environment, a safe neighborhood and even good healthcare. How does communication help with our safety needs?

In order to keep a home safe and sheltered we must communicate with the owner or manager to keep things fixed so that it stays safe to live in (Woods, 2013). The third level of Maslow’s Hierarchy is belonging also called social needs according to Abraham Maslow these needs are to be considered less important than physical and safety needs. Social needs are basically the need for relationships, interaction with others and the need to give and receive acceptance from others.

Belonging needs can also have a big impact on a person’s health, For example a child that is deprived of human interaction such as being talked to or played with by another person may not learn to function as a human being such as knowing how to communicate with others. In my own life I have seen this happen, my niece was put in a foster home when she was born she had stayed with the same family until she was two, the family she was with was an older couple with no other children in the home.

When mom got custody of her at the age of 2 she could not talk all she would do is grunt, cry and point at what she wanted until we figured it out. Her teeth had grown in wrong and she did not know how to chew food, she was still on stage two baby food when we got her. My niece was not locked away in a dark room or deprived of contact with other people, but she was not given the attention or care that she needed to learn and thrive as a she got older (Woods, 2013; p. 1). After satisfying the first three needs a person’s self- esteem needs become very important. Our self- esteem needs involve valuing and respecting ourselves and also being valued and respected by others (Cherry, 2013). By communicating with others we learn who we are and who we can be from the way that they see us in their eyes (Woods,2013; p. 12) Self-esteem needs apply to me a lot; I have never had very good self- esteem especially when I was younger.

As a child I was put down a lot and told how I would never accomplish anything, how bad I was. Now that I am older I still get told these things by certain family members, but I have a boyfriend who supports me in everything I do and children who love me. By being told that I won’t accomplish anything in my life or become a successful person it has given me the want and need to do something with my life and prove those people wrong. I would have to say my self- esteem is not the best but it is better than it used to be.

According to Abraham Maslow self- actualization is the most abstract human need it is described as fully developing and using our unique “talents, capacities, and potentialities” (Woods, 2013; p. 13). As human beings we thrive on growth, to self-actualize we must realize that personal growth is an ongoing process; we will always be growing and changing throughout our lives. Self-actualizing people are self-aware and concerned with personal growth, and are less concerned with the opinions of others and are interested in fulfilling their potential (Cherry, 2013).

References
Wood, J. (2013). Interpersonal Communication. (7th ed., p. 10-13). Cengage Learning. Cherry, K. (2013). Hierarchy of needs. Retrieved from http://psychology.about.com/od/theoriesofpersonality/a/hierarchyneeds.htm

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