Hierarchy of Needs & Relationships

Abraham Maslow proposed a theory of human motivation, called the Hierarchy of Needs. First, we all need the basics to survive. These are called Physiological Needs, and include air, food, water, sleep, etc. In thinking about this pyramid, it reminded me that human nature is defined by motivation and needs. Once one level of our needs are met, we focus on the next level. For example, if you don’t have food or shelter, your focus is mostly likely on meeting those needs, and not on attaining self-actualization.

This theory also made me think of relationships, and how we always tend to focus on what’s lacking, rather than what needs are actually being met. Let’s say you don’t have a good sex life. You spend all your time wishing you had a better sex life. With your partner, you might be having fun, share hobbies, communicate well, have the same values, but you forget all those things because you are focusing on your unmet need.

Even though this pattern is natural, it’s helpful to try and break free from our basic human nature, and focus on all of the needs that are being met. If not, your first marriage may crumble because of an unmet need (boring sex life), so you will seek out a new partner who fulfills that void (better sex life). But in your next sexy relationship, some other key element will be missing (your new sexy partner doesn’t get along with your parents, for example). You can spend your romantic life always seeking out the perfect situation, but you’ll never find it.

Start noticing your needs that are being met. What have you overcome together? How do you communicate? Count the things that make your relationship wonderful. You will feel more satisfied, and start to view your partner in a new way.

What is working? What needs are being met?

Know that it’s human nature to focus on what we don’t have… and forget the things we do have. But you can feel happier and more satisfied by breaking the cycle, and looking at all of your needs that are being met.

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One Response to Hierarchy of Needs & Relationships

  1. Warren says:

    Nicely stated. It’s hard to be happy in anything – relationship, job, health, home – if one is focused on what they don’t have. Appreciation and gratitude defeat resentment and regret. Thanks for sharing NIcole.

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