Happy New Years!
Let’s commit to making 2021 an amazing year—one filled with peace, love, success, wellness, and consistent moments of awe and joy!
To reach this goal, we need to focus on building and strengthening our internal and external foundation—in short, I’m inviting you to get grounded. I like the Cambridge Dictionary’s definition for grounded: someo
ne who makes good decisions and does not say or do stupid things. Groundedness is key to well-bei
ng (and wellness). Wellness is not the absence of disease or challenges—instead, wellness is having the tools you need to endure, bounce back, make good decisions, and give and receive support—to be resilient.
Last month, I wrote about my awareness of what was interrupting my sense of wellness. I was so focused on “doing” that I was not attending to my needs. I invited you to begin identifying your needs. If by chance you missed last month’s article, please go back, read it, and begin to reflect on your needs.
But, just in case you need a refresher—a need is non-negotiable. It is essential for our survival. From my experience, many of us get so overwhelmed and focused on shoulds, wants, and ought to’s that we end up with many unmet needs. In 1943, a scientist named Abraham Maslow wrote a paper called “A Theory of Human Motivation.” While there is no research on studies confirming his theories, he proposed that human beings needed the following and his theory as widely accepted as being accurate:
§ Basic Life Needs: clean air to breath, healthy food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex (as developmentally appropriate), sleep, etc.
§ Safety and Security Needs: protection, security (financial, emotional, physical), order, consistently, laws, limits, stability, etc.
§ Belonging and Love Needs: loving, nurturing, healthy, and supportive relationships—family (of birth and/or choice), affection, intimacy, community, feeling connected at work/school, etc.
§ Esteem Needs: opportunities and recognition of achievement, status, and responsibilities, and to be seen and heard (acknowledged)
§ Self-Actualization Needs: personal growth and fulfilment (learning, growth, and living out your purpose).
Maslow saw this list is as being hierarchical. The needs are organized in a pyramid, and each need builds upon itself. For example, Maslow thought we need to have our basic needs met consistently in order
for our belonging and love needs to be met. Think that through: are you looking for love or a romantic relationship and yet you are not taking care of your body by eating w
ell and sleeping well? Maslow would argue that being “out of order” will make it hard for you to achieve your goals or to feel like your needs are being met. Hopefully, this makes sense! It’s the law of first things first.
Now Maslow’s list is incomplete! For me most importantly, it misses the importance of spirituality and faith. To address this deficiency, others have added transcendence as the ultimate step. But perhaps—and I am merely hypothesizing—maybe he saw faith and a spiritual life as being infused in every level.
Look at this description of needs and once again reflect on your life and your energies. Are you focused on your needs and getting your needs met? What needs are you meeting for yourself? Where do you need help? Are you connected to others? Is the foundation of your support solid? And is your journey built upon a strong foundation? I have not said this explicitly yet, but no human being is expected to meet all their needs alone. Human beings are incredibly interconnected and interdependent. Maslow even conceptualized this list of needs as being a way for communities to understand our social contract with each other. For example, as society, we need to make sure people’s basic needs are meet if we want to unleash creative genius and have a successful citizenry. I think 2020 really highlighted the need for us to renew and restore our social contracts with each other. Next month, I will invite you to think about where you go for support or how you might find resources to meet your needs. I also have a (you can get it here :)) TO get you started!
Although a lot is written about the complexities of humans, we can also be simple. Remember, this year I am fully committed to helping you get your needs met so that you can have the best year yet!
In the meantime, stay well and do, be & live better! Visit me at: www.meridainkconsulting.com.