Saturday, 30 April 2011


For an assignment I've been looking at Maslow's heirarchy of needs. This is it if you are not familiar with it, and it's based on the assumption that we need the things at the bottom of the pyramid before we can have the things above it and so on.

It got me thinking particularly about the self-esteem element and what that actually relies on. I'd consider myself right now to have pretty high self-esteem, it's certainly higher than it's ever been before yet a lot of that is being driven by the uncertainty surrounding lots of the things lower down in the pyramid. For example, I've talked already about how my family and friends may or may not feature in my life in the future and yet I feel that part of my confidence and self-esteem comes from the knowledge that despite that, it will be OK and it's purely a means of opening new doors to new people and experiences. I think not having security can sometimes be really exciting and invigorating, and although security of body and health is something we do need, if other things change that should be a good thing and we should embrace it.

I also disagree with his order - do you need friendship, family and sexual intimacy before you can have confidence and self-esteem or does self-esteem bring those things? I actually think I feel more confident now that I've become strong enough to do things purely for my own benefit, rather than doing it for other people. Like my hair for example, I was growing it because I knew both my exes preferred me with longer hair, and now I've had it cut I feel good just knowing that I like it. I know that's a superficial example but I'm not seeking anyone else to tell me it does/does not look good, and I feel more confident for that which is surely a better state of self-esteem to one which balances on top of other people and relationships?

I also think being self-confident without needing other people will make me a better judge of partner in the future, rather than falling in with the safest guy which is exactly what my most recent ex was. So surely having self-esteem first will make for more successful and beneficial friendships and relationships, rather than it being the other way around? And to take it a bit further, if I had to live my life with just one or the other, I know what would make for happiness more than the other and I'm afraid my opinion there goes against Maslow.

Also, I do disagree with the inclusion of sex at the bottom of the pyramid... seeeeriously? Do I actually need sex? I don't even think that is true on a phsyiological level, I know we are basically designed for it, but it's at best a preferable thing, surely? Because if I do 'need' it then I have issues, not only because I'm not getting any, but also because I have absolutely no desire to change that right now which by Maslow's logic makes me some sort of freak. Though I have to admit, the novelty of being single is beginning to slightly wear off and I would appreciate a bit of intimacy right now (I know, I've been watching too much of the Royal Wedding coverage, I'm becoming a soppy romantic) but sex is never something I've put much focus on in terms of what I want or need in a relationship. Maybe that's because I don't know what I've been missing? Many of my girlfriends tell me this, but it just seems an irrelevant point in terms of whether I will be content in my life or not. But who knows, maybe I'll read this back one day and laugh, and maybe I'll look back and wonder how I ever considered myself a confident person without that experience behind me. Maybe Maslow knows more about good sex than I do...

A slightly depressing thought to end on there!


Linda said...

I think generally the relationships, if healthy, help you feel secure in yourself and build your esteem so that they actually become facilitator in self esteem and confidence. Only if the relationships are healthy. Also it's through other people mirroring back reflections of you that you kind of develop a sense of self awareness. You find you are kind because people react to you as if you're kind. So when these mirrors are positive and healthy, it becomes building blocks for self esteem and self confidence.

- Linda

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