Let me tell you why I don’t really agree with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs!
Firstly, I want to say that I think that Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs can be a useful tool to measure things a little bit, but when it comes down to it I still don’t really agree with it on an individual level or a measurement for individual people. Secondly, let’s understand that this tool was created to understand human behavior and needs and not as a tool to use to put people in place. Because way too often I hear people saying “Well, you have everything you need, why are you unhappy?”, and I have actually received that comment myself when I couldn’t study higher education just because I was living on benefits at the time. “You have everything you need, don’t complain!”
I just wanted to shout at them that boredom and meaningless days are not a privilege…
However, here I want to say that although collectively human needs can be measured, I don’t think that’s the case on an individual level, and here is where I don’t agree with using Maslow’s theory in that way. We can measure these things to figure out how to stop world hunger (although all the wealthy people and people in power don’t do sh*t to actually help with that, but still), but we can’t use this theory to measure the individual life of some random person.
What’s the purpose of living if we don’t have self-esteem and a purpose? I don’t really agree with the nihilistic approach at all, we all need something to have a big enough reason to exist. Regardless of that is building a career, a family, finding love, traveling to see the world, living on your hobby, or something completely else. However, we need to have it figured out to live a psychologically healthy life. If we don’t, we might become depressed or anxious or have feelings of being lost, and that is why quarter-life crises are such commonly known. Still, nobody talks about it nor takes it seriously. It’s just a “part of life”. We do forget that some people take these things more seriously than others though. Some people need a purpose more than others, and that should be fine! It shouldn’t be a question of entitlement or being spoiled, because some people need this to don’t get lost in the wrong direction.
I know, because I’m such a person.
I know when my life has no meaning I stray away from healthy habits because they seem meaningless then. I start with self-destructive behavior… When will we understand that individuals are different from the norm of an entire population? There will always be those outside of the norm and that is how it should be.
Because at the end of the day, we all belong here.
I know enough about psychology to know that belonging, contentment, and a meaningful life are important. Mental illness can be life-threatening just like physical illness. So how come we measure physical illnesses as more dangerous? After all, the brain is what determines our personality and gets us to function in society. So why don’t value it a little bit more..? I won’t say some physical illnesses are not deadly, that would be ignorant to say, I just say that some mental illnesses are just as deadly when you think about it. If you mess up your brain, you can’t really function while if you mess up an organ, you might survive! I don’t want to place these illnesses against each other, but I find myself doing so because how will people understand otherwise?
As a person living with both physical illness and mental illness, I can say that my mental state is more frightening than my physical – even at that time my physical illness made me unable to walk entirely!
I guess what I want to say is that sure, on a collective level, Maslow’s theory is the best measurement we have right now. On an individual one, however, it’s not even a little bit great.
People are different and respond differently to what they have. Some are sensitive when it comes to certain things and some are not. If it’s not obviously about entitlement, we should benefit from taking a closer look at things before we judge!