I had intended to use Wednesdays to talk about the connections between individuals, the connections between ideas…everything that meshes to create community. But before I start looking outside, the introvert inside me needs to make sure that I’m getting my needs met before reaching out to others.
If you have heard about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, you know that to be able to achieve the highest levels of human development, a human’s need for physiological needs like breathing, food, and water (among other things) must be met. If the need for health, safety, resources, or shelter is met, love/belonging and esteem from others becomes more of a pressing matter. At the top of the pyramid comes what is called self-actualization. If I can reach that level where all my needs are met, then focusing on creativity, morality, and other principles on which the world revolves becomes possible.
If I apply Maslow’s pyramid to my own life, can I say I’m ready for a search for “self-actualization”? I have all my material needs met. I don’t have much left over at the end of the month, but I’m not homeless or hungry at the end of the day. I don’t feel unsafe or threatened by anything–I feel safe within my own skin. I have a partner I love dearly and who loves me, a dysfunctional family that stands by me when things get tough, and friends that care even though the relationships aren’t what they used to be. I’m struggling for respect and esteem from others. I’m not quite ready for that top level yet, but I find myself reaching for the ideals of creativity, community, and connection every day. I’m sometimes close enough to taste them, but the hunger for respect and esteem still is the overriding force that drives me to move forward through my days. Maybe my work on this blog and community will help me reach those higher realms. I’ll never stop reaching, though.