Attention to all my needs that is!
As individuals, we all have needs. As the pyramid shows, the bottom category of needs is primary, then we can move up to meeting the next level, then the following and so on.
I believe that we sometimes like to jump the gun and we try to find contentment within the higher levels when we haven’t even taken care of the basic needs at the very bottom. I think of the extreme cases of people looking for wealth and success in casinos, when they hardly have food in the fridge. How can they possibly find happiness? What about the ones who buy every single get rich quick plan out there to reach life goals when they haven’t even identified themselves or their relationships yet.
Take another example: the life of a single stressed out mom. She has to take care of her kids, make sure she brings in enough money to buy food, pay the rent, keep the children clothed, cover for the daily necessities, while she runs around from work to home and back. She hardly makes it to 8:30pm when she plops on her bed even before the kids are asleep. She is exhausted.
She is covering for survival needs, she is also taking care of comfort needs for herself and her children, at least to a large extent; how many of the psychological needs can she think about working on though? How can she even feel remotely ambitious about achieving life goals moving to the self-actualization needs? Imagine her eyes rolling to the comment: “Hunny, you should find a boyfriend”. How???
Instead of jumping the gun to find happiness as it relates to others, it would be wise to start with the basics. Taking it a step at a time would help in finding happy moments first, which in turn can easily translate to the achievement of higher goals in the longer term. For this mother, organizing the basic and safety needs in such a way to find time for herself would be a good start. Then she can go on to the psychological needs which range from the need for understanding, compassion and attention to strength, trust and companionship, among others. It is difficult for a person who is exhausted meeting the more primary needs to even start to think about these forms of attentions to herself. This is why she has to do it one step at a time. Once her routine is more acceptable, the I Love ME process can come into play.
Finding ways to reinvent herself, to identify herself and her desires, she may recognize the importance of setting some time for herself. Starting by taking care of herself little by little, by enjoying moments doing the things she likes to do (as opposed to the things she has to do) she can slowly get more comfortable with the idea of opening up to relationships, friendships, sharing and trusting others, giving and receiving love and feeling stronger and more confident. I Love ME starts with attention to ME and my needs. One moment at a time.
I was there 5 years ago. Boy have things changed!
Which level are you at today? Dig deep and be honest. What can you do to better pay attention to your needs and find happiness in meeting them with more ease?