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Hierarchy of needs

Prioritizing language "issues" and "correct pronouns"


Needs vs. Wants: society's confusion

Understanding motivation behind behavior has always been interesting and frequently puzzling. Reward and punishment explanations somehow fall short many times. In psychology, the Maslow's hierarchy of needs emerged as a fairly straight forward theory. Pioneered by Abraham Maslow (1943, 1954) it postulates "...that people are motivated to achieve certain needs and that some needs take precedence over others. Our most basic need is for physical survival, and this will be the first thing that motivates our behavior. Once that level is fulfilled the next level up is what motivates us, and so on." (X)


That being said and understood, once an individual has physiological and safety needs met, he or she is ready to pursue other loftier endeavors. So, once I have enough to eat, a roof over my head and have a certain financial stability, I can worry about love and connection. I would dispute this a bit, since we all know about those famous Rhesus monkeys seeking warmth and affection vs. sustainment.


In addition, we all know that people behave recklessly (or heroically), risking their own lives (safety) in order to save someone else (love?). At any rate, the pyramid does simplify motivations behind human behavior. There are five levels in this pyramid:

  1. Physiological – includes air, food, water, sex, sleep, and other essentials

  2. Safety – includes security of environment, employment, resources, health, property

  3. Belongingness – includes love, friendship, intimacy, family, etc.

  4. Esteem – includes confidence, self-esteem, achievement, respect, etc.

  5. Self-actualization – includes morality, creativity, problem solving, etc.

Nowadays society appears to be stuck in issues related to esteem and self-actualization without acknowledging the first three very essential levels. Safety and security are being rattled all the time at all levels and yet, there is a portion of our population who just does not get it. They are stuck in pronouns. There is a lot of finger-pointing from people who apparently do not have much to do.

"Critics hang around and wait for others to make mistakes. But the real doers of the world have no time for criticizing others. They're too busy in doing, making mistakes, improving and making progress." - Dr. Wayne Dyer

The worst part of it is that those finger-pointing are not even the ones being affected by whatever it is they consider discriminatory and prejudicial. They feel so superior and entitled that they actually speak for the very people who should have that voice. In doing so, they diminish and further marginalize those who they claim to want to help. It is obvious they have too much time in their hands, not only concerned about their own recognition and achievement but denouncing and criticizing others. They are stuck in stage 4.


As Dr. Dyer so eloquently implies "are you a doer or do you just wait for others to do something you just don't like?" And for those concerned about what may or not be politically correct: Do you really think the rest of us or those "afflicted" are deficient, not able to speak our mind if we chose to do so? Don't patronize:


"...patronize[ˈpātrəˌnīz, ˈpatrəˌnīz]VERBpatronize (verb) · patronizes (third person present) · patronized (past tense) · patronized (past participle) · patronizing (present participle) · patronise (verb) · patronises (third person present) · patronised (past tense) · patronised (past participle) · patronising (present participle) treat in a way that is apparently kind or helpful but that betrays a feeling of superiority." she was determined not to be put down or patronized" synonyms: treat condescendingly · treat with condescension · condescend to · look down on · talk down to · put down · humiliate · treat like a child · treat as inferior · treat with disdain · treat scornfully/contemptuously · be snobbish to · look down one's nose at..."(X)

Do you have something to say, say it, do not announce it. Keep your issues and hang-ups to yourself and your immediate circle. If you really need to clear the air, do not hold grudges and communicate like a "grownup" should. Remember that not everyone thinks the way you do and that is okay. We all have a unique journey, and each of us have lessons to learn. Some are concerned about safety or even making sure they can afford food to eat, others are worried about a relationship, their kids' education, and some wonder whether they will see another day. Higher order needs (esteem, self-actualization) such that may be achieved through making sure everyone feels included and not disrespected in some fashion are a luxury. A lot of people have different priorities. Respect everyone's journey.


If you are ready to engage in a productive discussion about your views, allowing someone else to also speak their mind, Z Form is here to help. Z Form does not assume but rather gives everyone involved a voice. Do not let anyone dictate your journey. Do not let anyone tell you how to think.

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