The lower four layers of the pyramid contain what Maslow called "deficiency needs" or "d-needs": esteem, friendship and love, security, and physical needs. With the exception of the lower (physiological) needs, if these "deficiency needs" are not met, the body gives no physical indication but the individual feels anxious and tense. In other words, the hierarchy level of need moves upward as soon as the previous level of need is satisfied. Physical needs are those that are necessary for sustaining life. These have to be met before the individual is able to expend energy working on other needs. If you don't have food to eat, then your energy is focused in the pursuit of food, not in developing a safe environment or in seeking social acceptance. Security needs are very important, especially in early development. Security needs include safety from tension, anxiety, and harm, both physical and emotional. When a small child is in a home where these needs are not being met, the results can be severe. Physically they can literally fail to thrive and become thin, sickly and even die. Emotionally, a child in an insecure environment can adopt serious defense mechanisms that will temporarily protect him from the environment, but can result in serious mental illness later in life. If a child is being neglected physically or emotionally, if he is being ridiculed, teased profusely or abused in any form, or is in the midst of constant tension (as with an alcoholic or abusive parent) his security needs are in jeopardy. A child's security needs should be fully in progress by the time they are six months old. If we have a child who claims not to "need" friends and shows signs of reclusiveness, it may be that he is not able to work on that level because his security needs have been damaged or are not met. In either case it is imperative that the parent be aware of this and focus energy on helping the child rebuild his security needs, rather than continue to ridicule the current maladaptive behaviors. Social Needs are those needs that cause us to seek acceptance from others. We all need to have a sense of belonging, to be loved, to have friends and to experience a confidential relationship with someone close to us. Teenagers are especially in need of having their social needs met and it is vital to their emotional development that they are allowed to do this. They need to seek out and form strong relationships with peers outside their home environment. Parents are sometimes threatened by this and attempt to restrict the teens peer activities. This, in most cases is a mistake and is generally an attempt on the part of the parent to prevent the child from "needing" someone other than the "needy" parent. Parents are often concerned that their child will learn new things from peers or engage in unhealthy activities if they are allowed to spend time with peers. The fact is that if a parent has done his/her job, the child will be able to handle the peer situations well. If the parent is insecure about the child's ability to handle outside influences, then the parent needs to work through their feelings (fears and insecurities) instead of hampering the child's development in an effort to reduce their own anxiety. Achievement needs is our way of creating situations in which we can feel important and of worth to others. Setting and accomplishing goals is a great way to fill this need. Doing service for others, and achieving small successes are another way to fill this need. Often when we have not fully met our basic-level needs such as social needs, we attempt to fill this need in unproductive and unhealthy ways. This is often manifested in lying about ones accomplishments, attempting to be seen as powerful or intimidating, or by controlling others as a way to convince ourselves that we are powerful and important. Self Actualization is the top of the pyramid. This can only be achieved when all the preceding needs have fully been met...
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