As any freshman psychology major can tell you, all human behavior is motivated to achieve certain needs. I want to talk about our need for love and belonging — and how we can fulfill this need through creating inclusive communities.
But first a primer on Intro to Psychology…
Humanist psychologist Abraham Maslow introduced his concept of a hierarchy of needs in the early 1940s. He postulated that people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before moving on to other, more advanced needs.
Maslow’s original hierarchy of needs consisted of 5 levels:
- Biological and Physiological needs — air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep
- Safety needs — protection from elements, security, order, stability, freedom from fear
- Love and belonging needs — friendship, intimacy, love and belonging
- Esteem needs — achievement, mastery, independence, status, prestige, self-respect, respect from others.
- Self-Actualization needs — realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, personal growth and peak experiences.
According to Maslow, we must first fulfill the needs on the bottom of the pyramid before we can start to meet the needs at the top of the pyramid. I’m going to assume that you’ve got the bottom sections already covered and offer some thoughts on the third section, Love and Belonging.
I know, I know — when I assume, I make an ass out of you and me — but as I am powerless to fix your Biological and Physiological or Safety needs, I’m going to risk the assumption anyway.
Back to Love and Belonging
Most women I know struggle with the concept of love and belonging, specifically with believing that they are deserving of love and belonging.
So, let me dispel this misconception: we are all worthy of love and belonging.
Please trust me on this.
I’m an expert in self-doubt; but I’m sure that I deserve to love and be loved in return. And so do you. I have no doubts about the inherent worthiness of the human condition. We deserve all good things. We deserve love and happiness and sunshine and rainbows and unicorns covered in goddamn sparkles.
We deserve these things without deals or bargains or conditions. We deserve them without question. There is nothing that we might have done that revokes our deservability. We don’t have to earn it or barter for it or settle for less than the real deal.
Believe it. Believe it ‘cause it’s true.
Finding Your Tribe
Human beings are drawn to other human beings. We seek connection and community. We look to create bonds of all types — family, friendships, work groups, social clubs, intimate partners.
When we truly believe that we deserve love and belonging, we develop the ability to craft intentional and meaningful connections.
It is my belief that we are best served when we connect with a diverse community. Befriending individuals that are different from us broadens our knowledge of the world, helping to foster respect and tolerance for all people. Different cultures, different races, different sexual orientation, different religions, different beliefs…diversity introduces us to new ways of thinking and experiences. Some may challenge our assumptions and some may confirm what we believe to be true. But all are valuable.
It is through exposure to such diversity that we are able to build a community of amazing individuals with whom we connect in a deep and spiritual way, the folks who become family by choice.
Intentionally creating inclusive communities serves our highest good, helping us to grow and fulfilling our inherent need for love and belonging. Dr. Maslow would be so proud.
PS Stayed tuned for a major announcement next week. We've got big plans for building community!
Are you struggling with deservability or belonging? I'd love to help!