Hierarchy of Needs
The nature of human needs has been theorised upon by many, but perhaps the most well known classification of needs is the Hierarchy of Needs as defined by American psychologist Abraham Maslow. He placed human needs in a hierarchy not of importance, but of priority. Only when the needs on the lowest level have been fulfilled can we begin to put energy into getting ‘higher level’ needs fulfilled. For example, if we are hungry and have no food or way of obtaining food, we may enter a space of physical danger to fulfil our physical need. In so called ‘primitive’ societies hunting for food placed the hunter in physical danger (negating the level 2 need for safety and protection). In the same way a relationship (level 3 need) may be sacrificed to fulfil physical needs for food and shelter if the need arises.
Behaviour is very much determined by both needs and wants, and many of the problems we experience in relationships come from the needs or wants of one impinging on the fulfilment of the needs or wants of another. This will be discussed more fully in the next few entries ….
Peer pressure is an example of a need forced from the outside. Needs of this type are obvious in children or young adults, when ‘everyone else’ has or does what we want.
The desired object in this case is not the real focus of the need – the need is for peer approval and acceptance. The object is wanted to fulfil that need.
It is easy to see the difference between a need and a want in a case such as this. There is more about this in the next post! There are many things that will help you in Sue’s book “Peace of Mind – Pathways to Successful Living”. Download chapter 1 free now!