Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What does it take to have a good sense of self esteem?

This is really the age old question for me here.

As a nursing student, I studied Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. This was the basis in which defined the motivations of peoples actions and reactions to certain situations. For those not familiar with them, here they are from .here
Physiological Needs
These are biological needs. They consist of needs for oxygen, food, water, and a relatively constant body temperature. They are the strongest needs because if a person were deprived of all needs, the physiological ones would come first in the person's search for satisfaction.

Safety Needs
When all physiological needs are satisfied and are no longer controlling thoughts and behaviors, the needs for security can become active. Adults have little awareness of their security needs except in times of emergency or periods of disorganization in the social structure (such as widespread rioting). Children often display the signs of insecurity and the need to be safe.

Needs of Love, Affection and Belongingness
When the needs for safety and for physiological well-being are satisfied, the next class of needs for love, affection and belongingness can emerge. Maslow states that people seek to overcome feelings of loneliness and alienation. This involves both giving and receiving love, affection and the sense of belonging.

Needs for Esteem
When the first three classes of needs are satisfied, the needs for esteem can become dominant. These involve needs for both self-esteem and for the esteem a person gets from others. Humans have a need for a stable, firmly based, high level of self-respect, and respect from others. When these needs are satisfied, the person feels self-confident and valuable as a person in the world. When these needs are frustrated, the person feels inferior, weak, helpless and worthless.

Needs for Self-Actualization
When all of the foregoing needs are satisfied, then and only then are the needs for self-actualization activated. Maslow describes self-actualization as a person's need to be and do that which the person was "born to do." "A musician must make music, an artist must paint, and a poet must write." These needs make themselves felt in signs of restlessness. The person feels on edge, tense, lacking something, in short, restless. If a person is hungry, unsafe, not loved or accepted, or lacking self-esteem, it is very easy to know what the person is restless about. It is not always clear what a person wants when there is a need for self-actualization.

The hierarchic theory is often represented as a pyramid, with the larger, lower levels representing the lower needs, and the upper point representing the need for self-actualization. Maslow believes that the only reason that people would not move well in direction of self-actualization is because of hindrances placed in their way by society. He states that education is one of these hindrances. He recommends ways education can switch from its usual person-stunting tactics to person-growing approaches. Maslow states that educators should respond to the potential an individual has for growing into a self-actualizing person of his/her own kind. Ten points that educators should address are listed:

1. We should teach people to be authentic, to be aware of their inner selves and to hear their inner-feeling voices.

2. We should teach people to transcend their cultural conditioning and become world citizens.

3. We should help people discover their vocation in life, their calling, fate or destiny. This is especially focused on finding the right career and the right mate.

4. We should teach people that life is precious, that there is joy to be experienced in life, and if people are open to seeing the good and joyous in all kinds of situations, it makes life worth living.

5. We must accept the person as he or she is and help the person learn their inner nature. From real knowledge of aptitudes and limitations we can know what to build upon, what potentials are really there.

6. We must see that the person's basic needs are satisfied. This includes safety, belongingness, and esteem needs.

7. We should refreshen consciousness, teaching the person to appreciate beauty and the other good things in nature and in living.

8. We should teach people that controls are good, and complete abandon is bad. It takes control to improve the quality of life in all areas.

9. We should teach people to transcend the trifling problems and grapple with the serious problems in life. These include the problems of injustice, of pain, suffering, and death.

10. We must teach people to be good choosers. They must be given practice in making good choices.

I am posting here about education and educators only because I believe truly, that we are all put on this earth to teach someone else something. We only leave this world when our lessons have all been taught and learned. If one looks at the list of important things that educators should do, try to apply them to your own life and in your own interactions.

I remember talking to a woman once, who was sitting by her husband's bedside. He was dying.....he had been dying for a long time. She asked me, "how much longer can he hang on like this?" I told her about my belief that people only leave this earth when they are done their tasks. There was still something that he was to teach someone. She thought on that for a while. A day or two later, I was back on shift, and this man passed. The wife asked me to a quiet place, she said, "you were right, the final lesson had not been learned. I had to learn to have patience, and that I wasn't in control of everything." She and I both cried. I do believe that lesson will have stuck with her for the rest of her life too.

So as for my own lessons, of course I do not know what it is I am supposed to be teaching others, or what I am supposed to learn from others. I know that this forum, the interactions from the people who read, those all give me lessons and insight, and I feel that in turn, the people who read here take away some lessons and insight. I guess what I am saying is, be a teacher and a student all the time. Once you get past the hinderances, you can achieve your fullest potential. And the education I am needing is in how to change my thought process in order to see myself as a wonderful, unique, deserving and worthy human being. And when I see it, to treat myself with the respect I deserve. It is coming.....I feel it closer every day.

Today, what I like about me is my way of abstract thinking


livewithrealme said...

What an inspiring post about self-actualization, that I feel the need to read over and again. And your new picture is beautiful!

Desiree said...

Life is dynamic you can't teach without being a student too. It's the way it is! Absolutely. I've never left your blog without coming away with something.

Domestic Slackstress said...

Thanks for putting into words so eloquently a gift I hope to pass on to my children, the courage to honor themselves, their true selves, to hear their calling, so to speak, and reach self-actualization. Digging your blog ...