There is something so beautiful about humanistic psychology… humanistic psychology is the optimistic belief that within all of us is this desire to reach our full potential. When you think of humanistic psychology you think of Abraham Maslow and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs! I believe Maslow’s psychology is so important in our pursuit of joy…
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, is a pyramid that results in “self actualization.” Self-actualization is a state that is hard to reach but not impossible… Maslow believes it is important to fulfill the simpler stages before moving on to the more in depth and deeper stages, and in understanding how to move to the next stage I believe we can actively fight depression, and find joy.
The first stage in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is physiological. This is our BASIC human needs… So the food, water, air to breath, clothing and sleep…. So friends this means if you are struggling to figure out where your next meal is coming from, you’re struggling to keep clean clothes on your back, or perhaps even you have needs such as these, those need to be met first and foremost!! If you are lacking in any of these areas, it’s important to get these figured out before you can move on to the next stage! If you are struggling with any of these needs, please feel free to reach out to me and I will give your resources of places and people that can help!
Safety and Security
The next stage, once you have met your basic human needs, is safety and security. Maslow does not just refer to shelter here, but safety in health, family, employment… etc. So now we have your basic needs met, but if you are struggling in your home life to feel secure and safe, or you are struggling to find a job to have steady income, or perhaps you are working a job that is causing more stress and problems than it is solving them, than that is your next target! It doesn’t have to happen overnight but it becomes your new goal to feel safe and secure in these areas of your life. If something is causing you stress and unhappiness in this area and you are unaware of how to accomplish safety and security, please feel free to reach out to me or other loved ones, and make a game plan! Just having those goals and working toward a safe and secure environment will be weights lifted off your shoulders!
“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth.” Abraham Maslow
Love and Belonging
Next is love and belonging! When your basic needs have been met, and you feel safe and secure in other areas of your life, it is time to evaluate the people who speak into your life and who you surround yourself with. This is your community, your boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, your friends and family. Studies show that the healthiest and happiest people are ones that have and are actively involved in their communities. I have to say, if you are lacking a church family, that is your first step in fulfilling this need! I have the most amazing church community, they check in on me, they offer words of encouragement, and they pray for me. I can make a facebook post about a test I’m studying for, and Sunday at church I will have people asking me how I did, who were in prayer for me. If you do not have a church community you are missing out my friends, and if you are in the Joplin area, PLEASE come check out The Light at Joplin and I will gladly welcome you into our community! That being said, evaluate your relationships, and make sure those in your life are speaking joy, and positivity and success over you… If you have anyone who is hoping to see you fail, or adding negativity, it may be time to add some distance, and expand your community to others who are offering you positivity!
Before we reach self-actualization we reach the level of self-esteem! This is embracing what makes you unique! It’s realizing and acting in your giftings, and your calling! It’s being confident in who you are on the outside and the inside! Maslow believed that this desire for embracing our uniqueness and our talents sprung from being loved and encouraged in a community, that once that was accomplished you could thrive in your own self confidence and abilities. So if you look around you and you know your community is supporting you and lifting you up, then it’s time to dive into your calling and pursue the things that make you happy! It’s time to discover your giftings and talents! If you are trying to discover this and you want some specific prayer for an area you are pursuing or for guidance in what that call may be, please e-mail me and I would LOVE to pray for you!
Finally, there is the level of self-actualization! At this level you are just joyful. You continue pursuing happiness but you are filled with gratitude and purpose. You desire more wisdom and seek to grow intellectually and spiritually still, but you don’t feel as though sadness is still knocking on your door trying to creep in… Self-actualization is reaching your full potential and finding your joy!
There is so much we can learn from Maslow and throughout this blog, I want to offer many ways to seek joy and fight depression… I believe through recreational therapy you can find talents, giftings, and abilities that will help you thrive and bring you joy, that will help you cope with your emotions in healthy ways and will lead you to self-actualization, but I also believe there is so much to be learned from past and present psychologists who spent their lives trying to understand what makes us, us. And they offer many insights into what causes and keeps us feeling depressed. So thank you for joining and learning along with me!
Once again if you need to reach me you can fill out an anonymous message through the “contact” link on my blog or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to pray for you or offer any words of advice that I can!
“Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.” Abraham Maslow
“When people appear to be something other that good and decent, it is only because they are reacting to stress and pain, or the deprivation of basic human needs such as security, love, & self-esteem.” Abraham Maslow
“If you plan on being anything less that what you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.” Abraham Maslow
“The story of the human race is the story of men and women selling themselves short.” Abraham Maslow
“The only happy people I know are the ones who are working well at something they consider important.” Abraham Maslow