Esteem Needs in Maslow's Hierarchy: Examples, Definition & Quiz
When the first three needs in Maslow's hierarchy of needs have been met, the esteem needs, based on desires for appreciation and respect, begin to motivate behavior. This lesson explores Maslow's fourth stage and includes a short quiz.
Do you naturally feel good about yourself, or do you prefer to have others tell you you've done a good job? Do you seek fame and glory, or do you have confidence in your life despite others not knowing about your successes? Depending on your answers, your self-esteem might be based on what others say about you or what you say about yourself. Having positive feelings about yourself is necessary for your overall emotional health and well-being. Without properly meeting esteem needs, we are filled with feelings of inferiority and negativity regarding our lives, which is depicted in the fourth stage of Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a motivational theory in psychology describing the needs that drive human behavior. The first two levels of needs are considered basic needs of food, water, security, and safety. The third level of needs is considered psychological and is based on the need for social connections and relationships with others. The fourth level in Maslow's hierarchy of needs is based on emotions and the need for self-esteem and self-respect. Accomplishing the first four levels of needs ultimately leads to the last stage of needs, which is based on peak experiences and self-actualization. Let's take a further look at the fourth stage of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, the esteem stage.
Esteem needs refer to the need for respect, self-esteem, and self-confidence. Esteem needs are the basis for the human desire we all have to be accepted and valued by others. Throughout our lives we participate in activities either professionally or as hobbies that give us a sense of accomplishment. If you are not able to accomplish your esteem needs, it can cause issues regarding self-esteem and inferiority. As a result of low self-esteem, you might look for respect from others in order improve your view of yourself; however, it is important to remember that until you feel good about yourself, it is difficult to truly appreciate the way others view you.
According to Abraham Maslow, there are lower-level and higher-level esteem needs. Maslow considered lower-level esteem needs as the need for the respect of others through status, recognition, fame, prestige, and attention, while he described higher-level needs as the need for self-esteem, strength, competence, mastery, self-confidence, independence, and freedom. Maslow believed focusing on lower-level esteem needs is dangerous because lower-level needs are based on fame or recognition from others. Maslow believed that healthy esteem is based on higher-level needs of self-respect and competence. Higher-level esteem needs are based on internal (self praise) feelings of accomplishment while lower-level needs are based on external (praise from others) feelings of accomplishment. If someone is not able to meet their esteem needs, it could lead to an inferiority complex involving feelings of weakness and helplessness.
After the first three levels of needs (physiological, safety, and social needs) have been satisfied, esteem needs become more important. Esteem needs include issues of personal worth, social recognition, accomplishment, and self-esteem. Once esteem needs are met, you are able to progress to the highest level of motivation known as self-actualization. If esteem needs are not met, it could cause feelings of inferiority and helplessness.
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