Maslow’s 4 Basic Human Needs for Self-Actualization

“Healthy people have sufficiently gratified their basic needs for safety, belongingness, love, respect and self-esteem so that they are motivated primarily by trends to self-actualization (defined as ongoing actualization of potentials, capacities and talents, as fulfillment of mission (or call, fate, destiny, or vocation), as a fuller knowledge of, and acceptance of, the person’s own intrinsic nature…”

-Abraham Maslow

According to Maslow, an American Psychologist in the 20th century, there is a hierarchy of human needs that must be satisfied in order to progress and grow toward self-actualization. Self-actualization is the highest level of being in which a person reaches his or her fullest potential.

Basic Human Needs

  • Physiological Needs: food, water, shelter
  • Safety/Security: “the condition of being protected from or unlikely to cause danger, risk, or injury”
  • Love/Belongingness: friendship, family, intimacy, connection
  • Respect/Self-Esteem: status, recognition, dignity, value

Quotes from Abraham Maslow (Toward a Psychology of Being)

It would not occur to anyone to question the statement that we “need” iodine or vitamin C. I remind you that the evidence that we “need” love is of exactly the same type. 

Most neuroses involved, along with other complex determinants, ungratified wishes for safety, for belongingness and identification, for close love relationships and for respect and prestige.

We have, each of us, an essential biologically based inner nature…the basic needs (for life, for safety and security, for belongingness and affection, for respect and self-respect, and for self-actualization), the basic human emotions and the basic human capacities are on their face neutral…since this inner nature is good or neutral rather than bad, it is best to bring it out and to encourage it rather than to suppress it. If it is permitted to guide our life, we grow healthy, fruitful, and happy.

Toward a Psychology of Being, Abraham H. Maslow


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