Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

why maslow is upset with you

Almost everyone is familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It’s often shown as a pyramid with self-actualization at the top, giving you the impression that your mental health works like a game of Super Mario: only once you finish a level can you move on to the next.

But that’s not how life works. There are no levels that guide you towards some finale with fireworks and victory music.

Put simply, there is no linear path to happiness.

Just look at the rich and famous. Their faces cover magazines published around the world, their homes have shelves covered in trophies and plaques, and some even do their joy rides in space.

But are they happy? Not necessarily. Some studies suggest that rich kids are more sad and anxious than their lower income peers.

All this means that Maslow’s pyramid is misleading. You don’t need to work your way up to self actualization, because the luxuries of comfort don’t necessarily lead to fulfilment—although they definitely don’t need to hurt.

Maslow already knew this, of course. People simply misunderstood his work.

He never suggested you could reach the full heights of your potential by standing on top of a pile of money. He was far more concerned with the meaning behind it.

Why do you want to reach your potential? What do you want to do with it?

That’s what Maslow really wanted you to wrestle with as you slowly got yourself into a safe and loving environment.  

All this is excellent news.

Because it means that you don’t need to wait to find fulfilment before you reach peak comfort. 

You can pursue and cherish what matters right now.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach