Maslow's Pyramid is a scheme that illustrates his famous Theory of the Hierarchy of Human Needs, one of the concepts of psychology that has influenced many disciplines. It is based on the principle that human needs have a hierarchical relationship capable of directing the motivation of individuals towards different types of satisfaction. Maslow's Pyramid is a brilliant representation of its concept, organized in a didactic and functional way. All the essential human needs are described, from the physiological ones that constitute the base of the pyramid, to the most abstract ones at the top. The physiological needs are those related to survival, such as breathing, rest, food, and hydration.
With the basic needs met, the motivation of the individual will be on safety and self-preservation. In this group, there is physical protection, the search for shelter, stability, comfort, and health care, among others. At the heart of the Maslow Pyramid are social needs, and it is from here that psychological needs begin to predominate. On social needs, there is motivation for acceptance, recognition, respect, prestige, and authority (Wiencke, 2017). At this stage, people look for ways to feel valued, either in their personal lives or in their professional lives. At the top of the pyramid are the needs related to self-realization, that is, the conquest of personal desires, such as freedom, wisdom, independence, overcoming, and self-control, among others.
The psychology of self-actualization is part human nature. It helps people move from a state where they are just "ok" to life to the present where they become the best version of themselves. It is not a restorative, rather a psychology that aims to generate human excellence. It describes how to realize what is latent in the human potential (make it real and tangible) (Wiencke, 2017). Therefore, it is positive psychology that allows people to live fully and humanely. The psychology of self-actualization focuses on a way of living fully, in a vibrant, meaningful, and joyful way. Self-realization is a mental neoplasm, which is directly related to the formation of the highest abilities, to the need to achieve success, overcome obstacles and run towards the unknown heights of growth, both personal and professional.
Today, in an era of rapid social transformations, forcing an individual to constantly transform their consolidated and consolidated life relationships, to rebuild themselves, the problem of the application and development of personal potential arises in a more acute and qualitatively new way (D'Souza & Gurin, 2016). Therefore, the question of the importance of creating the conditions for personal self-realization, the need for incentives for personal growth, and the development of the creative potential of those individuals whose professional and work activities include training, care, and assistance are of particular relevance.
Every human being requires self-actualization. It is a culturally universal need, and for people whom self-actualization is a need, it makes sense that it is the pinnacle of Maslow's hierarchy of needs for several reasons. The sense of belonging and appreciation is what every person seeks and to feel part of a higher purpose and that they belong somewhere (Wiencke, 2017). When this does not happen, when the " B-Needs ", also known as " Needs to Be" are not seen, honored and respected, personal dissatisfaction occurs, and the person feels low self-esteem, low motivation, productivity, engagement, quality of life, and eventually ends up feeling his or life is empty and useless.
A practical example of self-actualization is an employee working for a company. The sense of belonging and appreciation is what every professional in a company seeks to feel part of a higher purpose each time they perform their tasks. When employees are not seen, honored, and respected, professional dissatisfaction occurs, because the worker does not see, in the organization, chances for their growth, which consequently, decreases their motivation, productivity, engagement, quality of life at work, and self-realization opportunities. According to Maslow, what humans can be, they must be (D'Souza & Gurin, 2016). They must be true to their very nature. Therefore, to experience their infinite potential in practice and to be all that they wish to be in their career, the individual needs to have all their needs met and mastery of technical, emotional, and behavioral skills and abilities that help them maximize their success.
Self-actualization may vary across different cultures. Self-realization may be driven by the quality of the environment where one is staying, but above all, it is a result of the person and what he/she believes is the best way to achieve self-satisfaction and great achievements in his/her life (Wiencke, 2017). With that in mind, it is essential for the person to know what makes sense of their life, what makes them get up every day and, and of course, what their purpose in life is.
Self-realization is being able to meet one's highest needs, whether social status, emotional aspirations or goal fulfillment. It is also having defined the meaning of life and making it ours by dedicating our daily life to this ideal. At the same time, there is an essential point about the theory of self-realization: it is about growing what is already within us (D'Souza & Gurin, 2016). That is, if we do not have the skills to be scientists, it is no use dreaming of being the new Stephen Hawking. Each must be aware of their capabilities and their potentials. As such, it is a matter of finding a balance between the real self and the ideal.
On the other hand, an interesting detail about this approach is as follows. Maslow argued that people are programmed to self-actualize. There is a very powerful need in every person to achieve this high balance between who they are and what they can do. However, often, society itself does not facilitate this state (D'Souza & Gurin, 2016). The only thing that matters is self-realization. It means knowing who you are beyond the superficial self, beyond your name, your physical appearance, your personal history, and your background.
The theory of self-realization reminds us that there is within us an intrinsic force that guides us to a goal. If one is a musician, one cannot give up one's passion even by dedicating one's life to another profession. This need will always be present, and we must be constant in our endeavor. Using creativity, finding other ways, or even creating them ourselves are bridges with which to move from frustration to personal height. Self-realization is innate in us, and it emerges little by little (Wiencke, 2017). However, we need to listen to it and focus every day on shaping it. In this way, those who aspire to help others will be happy in jobs such as nursing, social services, psychology, and even teaching. There are many scenarios in which goals and occupations can be harmonized, and when we succeed, when we are immersed in these tasks, we truly discover what happiness is.
Self-realization is not a goal, but a constant path in which one learns to be someone better every day, drawing one closer to his/her best version. In general, to achieve self-realization, a person has to feel that his or her life is full and balanced physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The person also has to create the necessary conditions to transform him/herself, to continually evolve, to transcend its possibilities, to gain knowledge, improve his/her talents and skills, have dreams and visions, wishes, ideas, and work hard in achieving personal goals.
D'Souza, J., & Gurin, M. (2016). The universal significance of Maslow's concept of self-actualization. The Humanistic Psychologist, 44(2), 210. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303889840_The_universal_significance_of_Maslow's_concept_of_self-actualization
Wiencke, L. C. (2017). Does the Unconditional Basic Income Promote Self-Actualization?: A qualitative study based on Maslow's Motivation Theory (Bachelor's thesis, University of Twente). Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/1354/94f9158c0cea2fe2f7bc90a848f46a7caba2.pdf
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Essay Sample on Maslow's Pyramid: A Guide to Human Needs Hierarchy. (2023, Mar 01). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/essay-sample-on-maslows-pyramid-a-guide-to-human-needs-hierarchy
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