MASLOW’s pyramid of NEEDS – Esteem (Level 4)



PREVIOUS: Level 3

 SITE:  20 Ways to Increase Self-esteem

** How to Build Self-esteem in a Child

Maslow’s Original PYRAMID Version (cont.)

Level 4.
ESTEEM
Together, the Social & Esteem levels (3 & 4) make up the psychological aspects of the hierarchy – the ego needs. To achieve them, one has to accept who they are, as much as possible, which young people have not yet fully discovered.

This level deals with more complex aspects of life. Regardless of background, humans have the need for personal adequacy & achievement, competence & mastery, for independence & freedom, self-respect & self-worth, with confidence & strength to face of the world.
Maslow divided this level into:

1. Higher version / Self-esteem
All of us want to be more than just a featureless face in the crowd – to be known & appreciated as a unique, respected person. Maslow understood that having an Authentic Self allows people to satisfy esteem needs by appropriate external avenues, & by internal acceptance of our cognitive abilities, emotions & practical skills.

This insures that any respect gained will be legitimate – rather than from illusions produced by an idealized false self – respect which helps us feel confident & competent in dealing with others.

Maslow indicated that children & adolescents greatly need respect & a positive reputation, which precede real dignity & self-esteem.
Because self-esteem is so crucial for personal growth, a lack of it leads to discouragement, helplessness, weakness, depression, suicidal thoughts…… (More….)
Survivors of neglectful & abusive childhoods – such as continually being shamed – endlessly search for specialness & praise they never got. Yet the WIC will discount them when offered (“I really don’t deserve it”).

Reviewing studies of severe psychological disorders, & looking at the work of such people as Erich Fromm on Love & the stress of being untrue to one’s own nature, Carl Rogers on the Psychology of the Self, essays by Ayn Rand, theologians on pride & hubris.… remind us of the extreme importance of providing self-esteem needs, so we can feel necessary & useful in our life.

2. Lower version / Recognition – the need for the esteem of others – the universal desire for prestige. It includes status & a good reputation, dignity & importance, attention, recognition & appreciation, fame & glory, dominance &/or position in society or what is achieved in ones social circle. 

Externally, here people are striving to be involved with others rather than standing out as individuals. It’s about becoming invested in family or partnerships, where cooperation & trust are much more important than self-needs. It also goes beyond just having social relationships – it’s wanting to make contributions at home, at work & in society, and getting credit for them.

These needs were neglected by Freud, but have been stressed by more modern thinkers such as Alfred Adler & his followers, with increasing appreciation of their very real importance found among current psychoanalysts & clinical psychologists. Learning how to work well with others & setting appropriate boundaries are crucial to balancing self-esteem with getting esteem from others.

Negatively – At one extreme some people’s hunger for Importance or Domination make them over-focus on family & group needs at the cost of their own, creating distress for themselves & difficulty for others when they explode or burn out.
At the other extreme some ambitious types driven by low self-esteem become obsessed with needing Respect from everyone, or on Recognition thru money, fame, power, glory…..

And – unfortunately for the underprivileged or otherwise limited (psychologically or physically), our society harshly judges everyone on achievements (“What have you done lately? / How much money do you make?….”) without considering that many of such people’s Levels 1-3 needs are unmet, making it hard to develop their potential

Positively, It’s easier to provide these requirements by having a framework for recognizing & organizing them. Some avenues to fulfillment —
PERSONAL : head of household, pride in ones children
WORK: Job title & compensation, acknowledgement of accomplishments
FUN : sports, hobbies
SOCIAL : professional, academic & religious activities

Learning about Maslow’s levels makes it possible to understand & accept shortcomings in ourselves & others when seen as need-limitations rather than being bad or lazy. It especially helps us appreciate what we already have, & identify what we may lack so those needs can be worked on.

NEXT: Level 5

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