Maslow’s Hierarchy – The Need for Love & Belonging

This chart comes from the Wikipedia Article on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which can be found by clicking here.

Maslow’s Hierarchy – Love Needs Revisited

The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in. (Morrie Schwartz)

Some Definitions First

Most – The greatest quantity, amount or degree. The ultimate in something.

Important – Entitled to more than ordinary consideration or notice. Of considerable influence or authority. Of much or great significance or consequence.

Life – A corresponding state, existence or principle of existence conceived of as belonging to the soul. The general or universal condition of human existence.

Learn – To acquire knowledge of or skill in by study, instruction or experience. To become informed or acquainted with.

Give – To present voluntarily and without expecting compensation. To grant to someone. To impart or communicate. To set forth or show.

Love – A profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. A feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection. Affectionate concern for the well-being of others.

Let – To allow or permit. To allow to pass, go or come.

Maslow’s Ideas In Today’s World

In light of today’s economic / world situation, I think we should all pay more attention to Abraham Maslow’s ideas than ever before.

It is my contention that Maslow’s work was “spot-on” and we would all do very well to pay attention to his ideas.

Love Is A Two Way Street

The best way to get love is to give love. Unfortunately, not everyone knows this.

Here’s why I think that’s the case.

As Morrie Schwartz pointed out in his quote, love is something that has to be LEARNED.

What’s the best way to learn about love? To receive it, that’s how.

We have to be shown love in order to know how to give love.

Some parents do an excellent job of teaching that to their children, from the very beginning. However, all too many people weren’t shown enough love when they were growing up, or the love they were given HAD STRINGS ATTACHED.

Unconditional Love

True love is unconditional. That’s not always a very easy thing to do though. Typically, most of the unconditional love we see in the world is between parents and their children.

Some examples are mothers who still love their sons, even after they’ve found out that he’s a murderer. These mothers will stick by their sons and insist all along the way that their “little boy” couldn’t possibly have hurt anybody.

Another example is the love that people feel to their “God”. Many religions teach that as long as you love your “God” unconditionally, you will be loved back in the same manner.

I’m talking about something a little different here.

I’m talking about how to love your fellow many unconditionally. THAT’S THE TOUGH ONE.

To be truthful, I’m not so sure I’ll EVER be able to love ALL my fellow human beings unconditionally. Some people seem to be able to do that (people like Mother Teresa), but I don’t think very many people are very successful in that area.

An Intermediate Step

Instead of focusing on unconditionally loving ALL of our fellow human beings, let’s focus on trying to unconditionally love those who are around us the most.

  • Our parents;
  • Our significant others;
  • Our children;
  • Our co-workers;
  • Our clients;
  • The people we meet as we go about our daily lives in the grocery stores, on the highways, etc..

You get the idea . . .

If we could all just learn to open up and love, just a teeny bit more, the world would be a much better place.

Sometimes Love Can Be A Little Painful

Love can sometimes cause us to be a little hurtful because we will do things for (and to) the ones we love that we would not do for others.

A perfect example happened to me last night.

I was speaking with a client about a legal matter. My clients had already paid an outside group a large sum of money to help them with their problem and they had received advice, that I thought, was not necessarily that effective, EVEN THOUGH it came from sources that were supposed to be experts.

My clients and I got in a little bit of an argument when I began to tell them my recommendations, which were a little different than those from the “experts.”

I finally wound up telling my clients that the “experts” were simply giving them advice, BUT I WAS TRYING TO LOOK OUT FOR THEIR BEST INTERESTS.

In other words, I wasn’t just looking for a paycheck. I was telling them what I thought BECAUSE I CARED! I told them that the “experts” cared about how much money they could make and weren’t worrying about the “small details.” I on the other hand was trying to help them “cover all the bases”, just to make sure they stay out of trouble.

I told my clients that I wasn’t going to just “blindly” sit back and take their money and watch them do something that I thought was foolish. That’s why I told them what I thought. In other words, I didn’t put my financial interests (simply sending my clients bills and getting paid) ahead of their personal interests and trying to protect them.

My job was to try and protect them, NOT to see how much money I can make from them.

So What’s My Point?

My point is that if we had a little bit more love in our lives, we could move a little further up Maslow’s ladder and begin to feel self-esteem.

That certainly could not be a bad thing.


As I mentioned a little earlier in this post, I believe most human beings are constantly working, simultaneously, to fulfill their needs on multiple levels of the pyramid.

Here’s the catch:

The higher up the pyramid you want to get, the more important the lower levels are to your success or failure.

That’s why I think Maslow was a genius when he came up with the pyramid concept. Not only did he get his points across verbally, but he also got them across visually.

His pyramid says it all.

Until next time, may you find your path by walking it . . .

Stanley F. Bronstein

Agent of SuperChange

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