MASLOW’s pyramid of NEEDS – Safety (Level 2)




Level 1. PHYSICAL Needs

Level 2. SAFETY
Security – physical & psychological needs which can never be ‘perfectly’ satisfied.
People constantly predict the future to help decide what to do next, or over the long term. If we predict the likelihood of coming to some harm, we’ll feel unsafe. The greater the possibility – the greater the fear. So the Security Needs have to do with people’s yearning for a predictable & orderly world where their sense of unfairness & inconsistency are under control, the familiar frequent & the unfamiliar rare. This can translate into a desire for order, health & peace.

This level definitely applies to children, who are very vulnerable, & so have a legitimate need for security. When that’s not available, they can develop anxiety, & the drive to feel safe becomes a life-long desperate pursuit.
In the absence of physical protection, as in war, natural disasters, domestic abuse…. people can develop PTSD & addictions, & then pass it on to following generations. EXP: fear of abandonment (FoA) leads to people-pleasing or isolation….

However, when this level is adequately provide for in childhood, adults don’t usually think about it much, except in times of personal threat or social turmoil. But since a true sense of security is rare in the world, responsible adults do find various ways to cover important personal & family protection needs.

Safety – This is the feeling we get from knowing no harm will come to us, physically, mentally or emotionally – to live without stress and worry. Fulfilling these needs can makes us feel assured that even if big problems happen, we’ll still be OK. Safety factors can include —

Physical: health care, safety nets against accidents, illness & their debilitating effects – such as car & health insurance, burglar alarms….
Also – better quality food, vitamins, medicine, household products….
& free from physical & sexual abuse
Personal : general well-being – housing / property, a stable life-style, safe neighborhoods

Psychological : external protection from prejudice, bullying, taunting…. and internally – eliminating all forms of cruel self-talk, negative projections & victimhood
Emotional : being free of verbal abuse, emotional blackmail, threats of abandonment……

Social: protection for one’s family, being part of a community, law & order – morality, protection from criminals….
Work / financial: job opportunities & job stability (often chosen over job satisfaction), saving accounts, pension / retirement plans….
Spiritual: a close connection to Higher Power, trusting in the safety of faith in an unsure world

“Adults require the same basic needs fulfilled – as children – before the next level becomes a priority. Many people spend their entire lives looking for employment & financial resources, without ever feeling the desire to express themselves artistically or be recognized by their peers for social contributions.

But art lessons may not be the best choice if one is struggling with money issues, lack of employment or the possibility of loosing ones home – & it’s unlikely that imagination, social contributions, inventions or other achievement will be priorities (#4 & 5)

✦ The Pyramid hierarchy does not negate being able to enjoy some things from higher levels unless we have all of the elements below it in place, only that a sense of fulfillment won’t occur until that happens.

If someone is constantly chasing esteem & respect, chances are they’re not very concerned with morality & truth (#5), only on their own situation & needs. They might have some interest in those qualities, but their sense of fulfillment will come when the previous levels are sufficiently met, such as being respected & admired.

By noticing where each member of the family is on Maslow’s Pyramid, parents can more easily address the needs of their children, & mates can help each other move to a higher level of personal fulfillment. Likewise, couples have to feels safe with each other before they can move into true intimacy & sexual fulfillment (#3 & 4).

NEXT: Maslow Level 3

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