foliumnondefluet: (Default)
[personal profile] foliumnondefluet
Something about Maslow's hierarchy of needs bugs me:

"Humans want to be accepted and to belong, whether it be to clubs, work groups, religious groups, family, gangs, etc. They need to feel loved (sexually and non-sexually) by others, and to be accepted by them. People also have a constant desire to feel needed. In the absence of these elements, people become increasingly susceptible to loneliness, social anxiety and depression."

And I am wondering, how can the "need to feel loved" ever be non-neurotic? If you do not feel loved "(sexually and non-sexually)" by others, how could you ever go about satisfying this need in a non-pathological way? Maslow makes a distinction between "deficiency love" where you make friends to try to get your need met, and friends you make because you actually appreciate them as a person. According to him, the second is only possible *after* the need to feel loved is satisfied. Making friends and being a good person are healthy when done for their own sake, but according to Maslow, this is only possible when you already have enough friendship and love to get your needs met. Otherwise you're being nice as an attempt to manipulate people into loving you more.

Also, it would seem to me that "being loved by others" is a subjective feeling entirely in the heads of other people, and impossible to share by the object. And it would appear that there can be only the remotest causal connection between "being loved by others" and "feeling loved by others". Feeling accepted is wonderful - yet it has happened to me that this feeling later turned out to be wishful thinking on my part. I imagine that it is likewise possible to feel rejected when one is not - it is almost impossible to make a depressed someone feel loved, for example.

We want to *feel* valued/loved/accepted - we try to satisfy this need by trying to make others value/love/accept us, but will that really work? Even assuming that is possible, will that make us *feel* it, too? It almost seems like it would be more effective if we could just delude ourselves into believing we are valued/loved/accepted. Since it is impossible to control the amount of love others feel for you, it would seem that the healthy way to satisfy this need is to be content with whatever amount of love, understanding, etc. you get from others. But in that case, are they "nonproductive needs that do not promote health or growth" or can they ever be satisfied? Perhaps the best way to fill the need to be loved is learning to love yourself more. Maslow doesn't mention self-love...

On further reflection, I think the same may be true for the level below - "safety needs". Knowing you are cared for and made safe. Knowing that there are people in your life that will help you pick up your pieces, should you fall apart; until you do fall apart, the need is met by "knowing" you will be cared for, regardless of whether this is actually true... and if you don't know anyone who would care for you (or are too paranoid to trust them), how could you go about getting that need met in a non-crazy-manipulative way?
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June 2015

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