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Deficiency vs. Growth

Abraham Maslow argued that all needs could be grouped into two main classes: deficiency and growth.

  • Deficiency needs are motivated by a lack of satisfaction, such as the lack of food, safety, affection, belonging, or self-esteem. The higher the need, the more we change reality to satisfy the most deficient needs.
  • Growth needs have a different sort of wisdom. Instead of being driven by fears and anxieties, it is more accepting and loving. It is asking, "What choices will lead me to greater integration and wholeness?" rather than "How can I defend myself?"

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Abraham Maslow And The Hierarchy Of Needs
Abraham Maslow And The Hierarchy Of Needs

Abraham Maslow, the famous psychologist, had worked on a theory that linked self-actualization to spirituality and self-transcendence.

His Hierarchy Of Needs Pyramid (which was never intended to be a pyramid) familiarized us to the basic human needs like safety, belonging and self-esteem to be a foundation that paves the way for creative pursuits.

Ten Characteristics Of Self-Actualization
  1. Continued appreciations of the same objects, events and circumstances.
  2. Acceptance of one’s quirks and desires.
  3. Maintaining authenticity and dignity.
  4. Maintaining equanimity towards life’s inevitable ups and downs.
  5. Having a purpose in life.
  6. Pursuing the real, unadulterated truth about people and nature.
  7. A genuine desire to help mankind.
  8. Having internal peak experiences, opening new dimensions of the mind.
  9. Having a conscience.
  10. Being a creative spirit while doing any kind of action.
Self-Actualization: From Darkness To Light

Self-Actualization is an internal struggle that one must take by leaning towards stability and our higher goals while minimizing disruption from distracting thoughts and impulses (disruptive impulsivity).

One also has to look out for oneself to not fall in the dark abyss of negativity and doubt, apart from feeling directionless or meaningless.

The 2 Models of Human Development
  • The 'Surrender Yourself' model dials up your levels of happiness as you progress from your basic needs (like food and good health) towards your achievements like recognized success, or creative expression. The pinnacle of this human development model is complete surrender.
  • The 'Fully Human' model is a more subjective way of helping you find your own path. When our most important needs like food, shelter, safety, and stability are met, followed by our need to love, belong and connect with others, we then pursue mastery.
Self-Actualization

It implies acknowledging and respecting the sacredness and uniqueness of each kind of person. Self-Actualization also necessitates full access to information, full knowledge of the truth, and being able to choose without fear or social pressure.

The one thing left out of this theory is social psychology, as all the needs of a human being cannot be understood in isolation and social conditions are also necessary for personal growth.

Self-Transcendence

It involves advancing a cause greater and beyond the self, experiencing a drastic shift in perspective, beyond the confines of the self through the highest level of experience.

Self-transcenders have a completely selfless value system and are leaning towards serving humanity, with an eventual goal of transcending their ego.

Expectations of marriage

People are increasingly seeking self-actualization within their marriages. On top of the age-old love and cherish, the hope is that our spouse will help us grow to become a better version of ourselves.

It is not uncommon to hear, "He's a wonderful man, but I feel really stagnant in the relationship."

The cultural shift
  • Before the 1950s, there were well-defined expectations for how people should behave. Women were supposed to be nurturing, but not too assertive. Men were supposed to be assertive but not really nurturing.
  • Around the 1960s, we rebelled as a society against the norms and preferred humanistic psychology with ideas about human potential and the possibility of living a more authentic life.
Fulfillment of goals

The changing nature of our expectations of marriage has made more marriages fall short and disappoint us. But the fulfillment of a new set of goals is now within reach.

We can have a beautiful set of experiences with our spouse. We can have a particularly satisfying marriage, but we can’t do it if we’re not spending the time and the emotional energy to understand each other and help promote each other’s personal growth.