Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Abraham Maslow developed a theory of motivation that includes his famous hierarchy of needs: Survival, Safety, Social, Esteem and Self-Actualization.
Maslow's theory states that until you satisfy the lower needs — starting with Survival — you cannot move forward through the other needs to achieve Self-Actualization.
In all three systems, people must begin at the beginning and work through each level to develop the foundation required to operate at the higher levels. However, they may also drop back into any lower level as needed.
Level 1 - Survival Needs
Survival needs (in Maslow’s Hierarchy) include very basic physiological needs for oxygen, food, water and nurturing of some kind (for children) or sex to continue the species (for adults). So long as physiological needs are unsatisfied, they exist as a driving or motivating force in a person’s life. In the Michael Teachings, a survival focus is comparable to the state of the Infant Soul.
In our corporate version of the Teachings, we call this perspective (or viewpoint) Surviving, which means viewing life in a very inexperienced way, seeking survival at any cost. People who see the world through a Surviving perspective cannot handle the complexities of modern society any more than true infants can manage their life. People operating primarily at the Surviving perspective live on the fringes of society, in primitive cultures, or those who are institutionalized for anti-social behaviors. They cannot see the larger picture or understand the larger rhyme or reason to life.
Even though we may be older souls, if we don’t have the basics needed to sustain physical life, we will act from the Surviving perspective until those basic needs are met. If we are starving to death, we will feel unable to cope with life in a more sophisticated way.
Level 2 - Safety Needs
Safety needs (in Maslow’s Hierarchy) include shelter, stability, protection, freedom from fear and anxiety, structure, order and law. In the Michael Teachings, a safety focus is comparable to the state of the Baby Soul.
In our corporate version of the Teachings, we call this perspective Rule-making, which means viewing life through the limits of rules and structure for the protection of humans similar to the viewpoint of children.
For people operating primarily at the Rule-making perspective, life is very simplistic and follows a rather rigid pattern. Without rules, structure and order that provide them with safe operating guidelines, people focused at this perspective become very fearful. At this perspective, following the rules is most important, to the point of aggressively defending what is “right” or attacking those who do not follow the rules. When not following rules, people at this perspective are excellent at making rules, expecting everyone else to follow the same rules and act in the same way.
As with the Surviving perspective regardless of our soul
age, if we are cold, homeless and afraid without knowing how to get help
or suddenly thrown into a foreign situation, we will operate from the
view of solving our basic safety and protection needs. From this
perspective, we are not able to see the larger picture or know that we
are ultimately safe.
Social needs (in Maslow’s Hierarchy) include the need for belonging, peer group involvement and love. People at this level are striving for acceptance by their peer group and seeking respect as an individual in comparison to others (beating the competition, winning the war, trouncing an enemy, achieving success, gaining status, collecting toys, being beautiful, etc). In the Michael Teachings, a social focus is comparable to the state of the Young Soul.
In our corporate version of the Teachings, we call this perspective Competing, which means viewing life as competition with others, similar to teenagers who are striking out to conquer the world yet very dependent on their peer groups for respect and acceptance. At this perspective, the focus is on making money, becoming a success, attending the “popular” schools, having the most beautiful body or car or career - typical “Yuppie” culture focus.
Regardless of our soul age, if we do not feel successful
or accepted by our peers, we are operating from this need. Everyone has
basic needs for support and respect from others that we care about.
Babies who are not given love will die. Children, adolescents or adults
who do not have love, respect and acceptance from someone will not
survive very long.
Esteem needs (in Maslow’s Hierarchy) include the desire for self-respect, self-esteem and the esteem of others. People at this level are striving to be involved with others in a group experience rather than as stand out as an individual. In the Michael Teachings, a self-esteem focus is comparable to the state of the Mature Soul.
In our corporate version of the Teachings, we call this perspective Relating, which means viewing life through a focus on relating to others. This perspective corresponds to someone moving into a “family” or “partnership” orientation where cooperation and trust become much more important than the individual’s needs.
This perspective carries a strong recognition that we cannot do it alone - that we need other people to help us. As people recognize the need to be involved with others, they also question their own worth as individuals. In the Competing perspective, the person is concerned only with their own needs as an individual and does not look inside or consider their place as part of a group or a team. As they move to the Relating focus, they begin to compare themselves to others in a different way and seek to hold up their part of a group or in a relationship, rather than trying to stand out themselves.
Often people become so focused on the group needs that they lose sight of their own needs leading to great confusion. At the Relating perspective, it is so hard for people to step out of their relationship issues that any disagreement or conflict can become a drama, consuming their energy until it is resolved. This is part of learning how to work with others and learning how to establish appropriate boundaries - a very important part of achieving self-esteem.
The United States has been primarily a Competing culture focused on extreme competition with everyone and everything, now moving into a more Relating orientation. This shift in perspective accounts for the stronger focus on partnership and working together in business and international affairs. This shift in focus has been greatly enhanced by our presidential team (Bill & Hilary Clinton, Al & Tipper Gore - all mature souls) and their focus on health care and government programs benefiting everyone. It also accounts for the great interest by many people in the private lives of celebrities and ordinary folks alike. People are trying to understand their own lives by looking at how others do it.
Level 5 - Self-Actualization Needs
Self-Actualization needs (in Maslow’s Hierarchy) consist of the need for self-realization, continuous self-development and the process of becoming all that a person is capable of becoming. Maslow says that in order to achieve self-actualization, a person must first satisfy all the other needs. In the Michael Teachings, a self-actualization focus is comparable to the state of the Old Soul.
In our corporate version of the Teachings, we call this perspective Teaching, which means viewing life with more objectivity, wisdom, tolerance, acceptance, teaching others and seeing life as a broader vision of possibility. At the Teaching perspective, people are somewhat detached from the drama of the Relating perspective and view the Competing perspective with the tolerance of parents for their teenagers. They are more interested in philosophical pursuits, deep introspective work or learning how to connect with their higher power through whatever means may be available. People at this perspective are not concerned as much about success as defined in the outer world as they are concerned with how they feel about themselves and their worth to their selected tribal group.
A person at the Teaching perspective may develop a definition of success that is based on comparing themselves to their own self-defined goals, rather than the outer culture’s measure of success. They may be poor gardeners yet immensely happy with that slow pace of life. They may choose to create a successful business that helps them teach their views to others. Or, they may be anything in between.
While the words used by different teachers may be different, the meanings behind the words are the same.
More information and articles:
Page updated: November 06, 2011
| Barbara Taylor | Books |
FAQ | Feedback | Interesting Links
| Mailing List |