Have you started recognizing some of your needs as we are on this journey together?
As we continue to move up the hierarchy of needs, you may have become aware of your need for belonging and being present. Or you may find that you have been focusing on higher-order needs like wanting to feel more self-confident and know others respect you.
If you have children, which needs are you focused on? Are you wondering why your child isn't showing more empathy for others, or worried about their achievement?
Notice where those needs are in the hierarchy (see image below). If you find the needs higher on the pyramid, it is going to be easier to meet those needs once the ones below it are met.
Evaluate which needs you are meeting effectively, and which ones are asking for your attention
Notice if your efforts to meet higher-order needs are effective. If it feels difficult to meet a need higher on the pyramid, ask yourself if there is an unmet need below it that feels unfulfilled. Sometimes we attempt to compensate for a more basic need not being met by focusing on other higher-order needs. This is one way to cope with the grief of that need not being fully met, but it can also keep us stuck. Grieving, processing, and finding creative ways to meet your basic need may allow you to then also meet the need to achieve without it becoming something that feels compulsive and unfulfilling.
Set realistic expectations
Being aware of this hierarchy can also help you set realistic expectations for others. For example, I have found that children who have been through horrific abuse can be incredibly empathetic, but not at the same time that their fears about belonging are triggered. When they feel secure, they are able to empathize, achieve, problem-solve. Basic needs don't have to be completely met all the time in order to access higher-order growth, but if someone isn't getting basic sleep and nutrition, or is worried they are going to be fired any day, or don't feel like they belong anywhere, it is going to be much more difficult to be empathetic, feel confident, and be efficient at school or work.
Where are your greatest needs at the moment? Will you allow yourself to take care of those needs?