Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Emotional Health and Self-Actualization

Recently, I read an article that listed what it takes to be an emotionally healthy individual...

I think it brought up some interesting points that I've been considering... This bit about being part of a larger community is interesting to me. It makes me wonder what defines this community. Could it be just a group of friends or does it have to be organized like a church club? It makes me wonder if I'm part of a larger community and how necessary it is. I'm also thinking about the sense of status. I'm pretty sure I actually disagree with this. I feel like that's extremely prideful and competitive and definitely not important in life...and the very idea that someone is spouting it as important bothers me.

When I posted that pic on Instagram, some of my followers mentioned Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs:

Some people really seem to buy into this one, but it's important to note that Maslow himself never ordered them in a pyramid and instead talked more about them in relation to each other. Like, maybe sometimes you have more of one and less of another. When I was first taught Maslow's theory, I was taught it as a pyramid that you started building from youth and hoped to attain all of it by some point in your life. I always saw myself as self-actualized because I've always felt that I met the blue parts of this diagram. I've had that belief challenged by friends who think I should have a better job and more money before I can attain self-actualization. But if thought of in terms of relationships, it's possible to feel self-actualized and maybe not have full self-esteem or a large group of friends.

I mean, I really don't buy into either one of these standards, honestly. Because I don't think there is a list that defines all people and I think some people might want things that others don't. But it's interesting to think about, for sure. What do you think?

8 comments:

  1. For me, "feel part of a wider community" could mean being part of something, anything really - a dance studio, a crafting group, a dog rescue, any group of like-minded people....and especially for me, this is sometimes a lack of the feeling of being left out of a group as much as having a group to be part of. The feeling of being left out made a huge negative impact to my emotional health. Even being part of a few groups that make me feel wonderful didn't seem to take away from the pain of feeling left out of something I thought I was part of.

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    1. I can see that point of view. I think I've worked not to be part of a group that can leave me out...because of being left out so often. I can see the impact of being left out vs. being included, with exclusion seeming to hurt more. I can see how even the smallest group could feel like a community.

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  2. These are both one person's schema and you've got to make your own to be happy. I can explain statis theory to you (it's from classical rhetoric and it's what I teach. It finally makes so much sense and so does what I personally need to do to be happy :) )

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    1. Explain me! So everyone just creates their own? Or can you adopt someone else's?

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  3. You create your own. Obviously---all humans really need the physiological needs met before they can really work not the rest. Safety is also crucial to feeling comfortable going after the rest. I'd argue esteem is the next step but that it's really up to an individual as to what to work on first. It's also different for different people--I personally feel as if my self esteem took so long to "appear" so to speak because women are often talked down to (especially in academia) and all that I learned in my wonderful all women's high school and from the wonderfully eccentric CWRU student body got obscured by the competitive, petty jack-wagons I went to grad school with.

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    1. So, you would say that it's ok for me to determine my own level of self-esteem...my own needs in terms of a community and "things" (basics like food can be expanded to mean LOTS of food versus only what's necessary...same goes with other stuff ie. Mother Theresa)?

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  4. I think "status" and success/achievement are relative. I think it is YOU that have to feel that sense of "status" or "achievement" in whatever group or context that you identify with or feel that you are a part of- which is much like a "schema", as the commenter above talked about.

    For instance, I don't have a HUGE circle of CLOSE friends that I identify with, but those that I consider to be close to me or very important in my life see me as happy and successful at what I do. Maybe other people don't, but I haven't asked, and I don't really care.

    I also see myself as successful at what I do, and it wouldn't matter that other people may not see me as successful; I feel successful and very content with what I do. And if you feel content with your way of life, then you've fulfilled one of those areas that Maslow is talking about.

    There are also other theories besides Maslow's, but he does make some good points about emotional/mental health. Again, I wouldn't embrace this one theory, but would incorporate a "multifaceted" approach. Human behavior and thought is much too complex to accept one theory- in my opinion, and, in fact, modern psychology promotes multiperspective approaches. -Jess L

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    1. I think success is a social construct and it's hard to get out from under the thumb of societal expectations.

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