Yeh dil maange more (This heart desires more)

17 05 2014

It’s been almost a decade since I got introduced to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.ย  The simplicity and obviousness of it never ceases to amaze me. And the clarity it brings to the topic fills me with awe. Every time I think about it, I say to myself – wow, that makes a lot of sense! ๐Ÿ™‚ Do you think I am weird if I say that the sight of the Maslow’s pyramid makes me feel, say, comfortable? ๐Ÿ˜›

The theory basically states that people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before moving on to other, more advanced needs (Source: about.psychology.com)

hierarchy-of-needs

 

Many times in life, I find myself feeling guilty about wanting more. Voices, both inside and outside my mind alike, say things like –

  • You should feel grateful and lucky to have your physiological needs met. There are millions of people inย  world who struggle for them.
  • You should be grateful for being healthy and prosperous.
  • You should be appreciative of your beautiful family.
  • Wanting more and grieving for things like self-esteem or sense of achievement or personal growth is really insensible.
  • One can’t have everything!!
  • Don’t be greedy.
  • Learn to be content with what you have – that is the secret of happiness.

I used to believe all those and used to struggle with trying to curb my urges for something “more”. I used to be in a perpetual guilty state, which resulted lot of frustration and other negative emotions. Life became very stressful. Just the other day, as I came across the Maslow’s theory, yet again, it suddenly flashed me that how natural it is that I crave for esteem and self-actualization needs, having my physiological, safety, and belonging needs already met. I need not stop at level 3 and I shouldn’t feel guilty about it. That moment felt like a “moment of freedom”. It had always been before my eyes, but the realization took its sweet time to come upon me. ๐Ÿ™‚

Actually, it is the years of social conditioning I received since I was born that made me to feel the way I did. This awareness doesn’t always come easily and when even when it does it takes a lot to come out of it. In many cases, it may not be possible at all. “Social conditioning” is that powerful. When you think about it, 1984 or Brave New world don’t seem to be too far-fetching. I know, it’s frightening but all around the world – there is a lot of “systematic conditioning” going on, right at this moment.

And, I think that there is a difference between being greedy and being motivated to fulfill advanced needs. And in order to be really content, one has to go all the way to the top of the need hierarchy.

 

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2 responses

26 05 2014
Deepu

As much as I want to accept the theory, something inside of me disagrees with me… Not that I’m an expert but I can see where/how the hierarchy is approached which I sort of agree.. yet somehow it doesn’t make complete sense to me!

26 05 2014
sireeshaavvari

Oh really? Would love to hear about your take on it. ๐Ÿ™‚
Is it my interpretation and/or application of the theory that bothers you? Indeed, the theory just says that unless the lower level of needs are not met, one won’t be looking for the higher level needs. Just because the lower level needs are met doesn’t mean that one has to reach for the top. I surmise that at least some people stop at some intermediate level.

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