Thursday, July 3, 2014

Emotional Stability and Motivation

[Johnathan Clayborn]

Recently something has happened that has rocked my emotional foundation to its very core. I have always been aware of how much emotional needs tie into other aspects of life, but this time I am acutely so. What I've also discovered is that the pyramid shape of the hierarchy, if it is truly a pyramid, can experience earthquakes (..or need-quakes?) .

The traditional hierarchy is presented in 5 levels, the base of the pyramid, and the most important level, is physiological needs; food, water, warmth, rest, etc. Then after you have is Safety and Security, then Belongingness and Love needs, then Esteem Needs, and finally self-actualization at the top.

In theory, if something in the middle of the pyramid breaks, it should affect the levels above it. However, this isn't necessarily true. For example, hypothetically speaking, suppose the person that you are madly in love with suddenly decides that they don't want to be in a relationship with you. This is revealed in the middle layer; love and belonging. Certainly, you don't feel loved or like you belong. Certainly being rejected in such a fashion can damage your ego and self-esteem, which in turn topples the self-actualization component. Why try making something beautiful like art or working on self-improvement, when you don't feel worthy of being improved to begin with?

What surprised me was that this upset to the middle layer also reverberates back down to the lower levels as well. When there's a major disruption to something like that people usually do not eat or sleep, or if they do it is in small amounts. This belies the nature of the first layer and flies in its face as a contradiction. It can also affect the safety and security layer as well. Some people are actually motivated to hurt themselves physically, but even those who are not have a general feeling of apathy and won't try as hard to keep themselves safe as before. They either don't care about their bodies or their health as they should, or they don't avoid risky behavior like they should and sometimes actually seek it out. All these actions contradict the pyramid shaped hierarchy structure.

A disruption to emotional stability, especially a drastic and unexpected one can have serious consequences to motivation and thoughts of self-worth. It definitely affects a person's self-esteem profoundly. The effects of these impacts to the hierachy are often long-lasting and can be quite serious. In some cases these effects can be life-long.

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