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  • Writer's pictureReuben Berger

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Updated: Mar 28, 2023

I spent three years obtaining a major in psychology at the University of Toronto. I recall once feeling a bit down and seeing a psychiatrist who worked on campus. I don't recall her being helpful at all. On another occasion My doctor recommended that I see a psychiatrist ~ When I arrived for my appointment, I recall he was late. I walked into his office and saw a short man sitting behind a big desk and all I recall thinking is, 'why would I ever come back to see him?'

I spent over three years going to see a so-called therapist to the tune of 50 000 dollars and I was truly more lost after seeing him than I was before I had met him. All that he seemed interested in was that I would see him 'next time'. He also seemed to like saying, 'Ah, your time is up, see you next session'. On some weeks I went four days. He tried to convince me that I was making a big mistake whenever I would mention the idea of not coming back to see him. He was what I refer to as a one man cult.

In all my years of exploring the world of psychology, I discovered some of the main truths within that entire field that most people could learn about in a few hours avoiding spending years of their life hearing one theory after another. Most of what I learned at University was just a bunch of theories and ideas that really didn't help a person have a deeper understanding of what they might be struggling with and how to break free of that.

One of the few theories that actually seemed true is Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. This triangle chart clearly reveals that in order to truly reach your potential one needs their Basic Needs met which are the bottom three levels ~ Physiological, Safety, Love/Belonging.

It's important to realize that many people are in environments where their Basic Needs of true love and belonging are not being met making it much more challenging to reach one's highest potential.

After my mom went on her way, four months before my third birthday, I spent much of my life having only my Physiological Needs met. It's not surprising that I was susceptible to 'cult-like' places where they offered some sense of community and the hope of finding a better life. Finding places in this world where I felt a sense of safety & Love/Belonging was rare.

On my journeys, I would find certain oasis of love and warmth where I'd feel a sense of Safety/Love & Belonging. I'd stay for some time but always find myself back out in the desert of life feeling the sting of loneliness even more after spending some nice time at one of those 'oases of love' .

Perhaps the longest amount of time I spent at one of those oases of love was when I was visiting one of my mom's best friends and her husband at their beautiful Long Island home. One afternoon, after I had been there for 3 weeks, we were sitting on the couch; My mom's friend somewhat awkwardly yet lovingly asked, 'So, when are you planning on heading back home?' As I sat on the couch feeling bathed by the love of a truly loving couple, the thought of leaving that oasis was furthest from my mind. Yet, I knew that I couldn't stay too much longer. I left a week later.

Many, simply need the right environment just like when you plant a flower ~ in order for it to blossom into its greatest expression of beauty, it needs the best soil, ample light and someone to take away the weeds.

I believe that a lot of people can find a better experience of life by not settling for being in an environment where one's basic needs ~ Physiological, Safety, Love/Belonging ~ are not being met. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs clearly holds the answers to where so many are stuck in life. This is one of the teachings from all my years exploring the world of psychology that can truly help one find a better experience of life.

Abraham Harold Maslow (April 1, 1908 – June 8, 1970) was an American psychologist who created Maslow's hierarchy of needs, a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualization.

Born in 1908 and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Maslow was the oldest of seven children. His parents were first-generation Jewish immigrants from Kiev, then part of the Russian Empire (now Kyiv, Ukraine), who fled from Czarist persecution in the early 20th century.

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