Belonging…Titi Olajide Cole
- ‘The quality of your life is built on the quality of your relationships’ – Norah Donnell.
‘Not understanding the value of relationships is what makes one isolate oneself’- (J. Krishnamurti).
One of the greatest minds in psychology was Abraham Maslow who came up with a pyramid of needs in 1943, while undergoing a research to find the meaning of life and what makes life purposeful. He came up with a five-tier model of human needs namely:
- Physiological Needs: These are basic physical needs such as food; water; warmth; sleep; clothing; shelter and sex.
- Safety Needs: These includes emotional security; financial security (employment, social welfare); Law and Order (freedom from fear); Health and wellbeing.
- Social Needs: ‘Belonginness’ and Love. The need for love motivates individual behaviour towards interpersonal relationships. These involves Friendship; Lovers; Intimacy; Trust; Acceptance; Receiving and Giving affection; Love; Affiliations (Being a part of a group such as family, friends and work).
- Esteem Needs: This tier involves an individual ‘s need to be respected, irrespective of age, culture, religion or social status.
- Self Actualization Needs: This is also known as ‘Growth Needs’ as it’s as a result of an individual’s innate desire for growth.
According to Psychology.org, this hierarchical order describes the complexities of nature and address what it is that individuals really longs for. It goes further to expatiate that failure to meet the lower needs would hinder the progress towards self actualization. In other words, esteem and self actualization needs should not eclipse authentic human associations. In addition, it expounds that the four lower needs are deficiency needs as the need arises as a result of an individual being deprived of them. This motivates the individual experiencing these lack to strive for them to be met. The longer an individual is so deprived, the stronger the ‘drive’ is for the achievement of the need.
Deducing from the above, social needs are the most important after basic physiological and safety needs and the longer an individual experiences it’s deprivation, the stronger the drive should be to reach out to others. Unfortunately, the reverse is usually the case when experiencing loss or life stressors. As we go through life, some stressful events ‘conditions’ us, resulting in confusion, misery, conflict or suffering. This is especially hard for someone like me whose typical weekend is spent curled up with a book. For me, nothing beats staying in. However, isolation from friends and loved ones potentially endangers any individual experiencing/who have experienced traumatic events, as socially isolated people have a higher risk of mortality.
The frequency of isolation has a direct relationship with mental health – (Psychologytoday.com).
People (like me) predisposed to isolation, should talk/reach out more to friends/loved ones/relatives; have date nights; outings (your closest friends knows when to ‘back off’); volunteer (Take it from me, selfless activities gives great satisfaction); Join a book/recreation club (‘kill two birds with one stone- Good health and mental wellness). This week, reach out to more friends, family and loved ones and you will be better for it.