• Lisa Allen

Playing Jenga with Maslow’s pyramid


As we prepare for another month of social distancing and all that comes with it: isolation, frustration, fear and for many, financial disaster, I’m eager to find out what others are feeling about their own hierarchy of needs.

Let’s go through Maslow’s pyramid and see where we are:

  1. Physiological Needs. Food, clothing, air, shelter, and ability to safely perform bodily functions.

  2. Safety Needs

  3. Love/Belonging

  4. Self-Esteem

  5. Self-Actualization

If you’re reading this on a computer, it’s safe to assume your basic needs are met, and likely your safety needs, too. (Unless three people are all looking at your screen right now. Too close, people! Six feet.)

The next three are where it gets interesting.

Love and belonging are really big ones right now. Me, I’m surprisingly content even as an extrovert, but damn I miss hugs! I miss sharing meals with people I love. Before all of this, my calendar was packed with social events, sometimes running 14 days or more in a row.

Now that that all came skidding to a stop, I discover such a busy life was a source of stress, too. I ruminated over whether I chose the right activity when there were conflicting ones. I am loved. I do belong. I don’t need that external confirmation. I think when life slowly returns to normal, I’ll be much more selective about my time and enjoy more time to myself.

Self-esteem. Ironically, being away from people has helped my self esteem. I’m not judging myself through the others’ eyes, which I admit I did a little. Was that person a little cool to me? Do I look OK in this outfit? I hope I emerge from my Covid cocoon stronger and more self assured.

Self actualization. This has been an enormous boon! I have time to meditate every day, read fiction and non-fiction, write things like this. As I look at the future I saw for myself before Covid (BC), I realize that my travel plans for the next year are upended. Did I really need to take those trips? Can I meet my existential needs right here in beautiful Beaufort? I now know I can. My future looks significantly different now: more stationery, selective socializing, more introspection, more helping in my community.

How about you? How do you think this has changed you? How have you altered your vision of your future?

On a larger scale, what will our world be like when this is completely over, likely more than a year from now? This is a once in 100 years social reset and thankfully, it wasn’t through global war. Will we all be more grateful for the many freedoms we took for granted? I so hope we are.

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