In 1943, psychologist Abraham Maslow published his theory, “A Theory of Human Motivation,” which proposed that healthy human beings have a certain number of needs, and that these needs can be arranged in a hierarchy, with some needs taking precedence over others.
Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs’ is often presented as a five-level pyramid, with higher needs coming into focus once lower, more basic needs have been met. The five needs include Physiological needs, Safety needs, Love and Belongingness needs, Esteem needs, and Self-actualization needs.
1. Physiological needs: These are biological requirements for human survival, including air, food, drink, shelter, clothing, warmth, and sleep. If these needs are not satisfied, the human body cannot function optimally. Maslow considered physiological needs the most important as all the other needs become secondary until these needs are met.
2. Safety needs: Once an individual’s physiological needs are satisfied, the needs for security and safety become noticeably important. People want to experience order, predictability and control in their lives. These needs can be fulfilled by the family and society, and also police, schools, business, and medical care.
3. Love and Belongingness needs: After physiological and safety needs have been fulfilled, the third level of human needs is social and involves feelings of belongingness. Belongingness refers to a human’s emotional need for interpersonal relationships, affiliating, connectedness, and being part of a group.
4. Esteem needs: The fourth level in Maslow’s hierarchy include self-worth, accomplishment and respect. Maslow classified esteem needs into two categories: esteem for oneself (dignity, achievement, mastery, independence) and the desire for reputation or respect from others (status, prestige).
5. Self-actualization needs: This is the highest level in Maslow’s hierarchy, and refers to the realization of a person’s potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences. Maslow describes this level as the desire to accomplish everything that one can, and to become the most that one can be.
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