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Start with the Basics
















In 1943, psychologist Abraham Maslow theorized in his paper "The Hierarchy of Needs" that there is a natural progression of human needs from the most fundamental to the most spiritual.  One needs to have one's basic survival needs met before one can even think about anything beyond that.  Without air to breathe, or water to drink or food to sustain the body, man can not begin to move to finding meaning in life.

The pyramid here is a more recent expansion of his original conception, separating out our interaction with others into love and esteem.  However, it remains true to Maslow's original premise of needing to have strong foundations in place before we have what we need to venture into self exploration.

Many times when I am working with clients, I refer to Maslow and this chart.  It is easy to forget the basics and the need for stable foundations when we are absorbed in grief, or in relationship issues, or other traumatic distractions.  And just as we don't remember them in our working through our issues, we also tend to abandon our consideration of the need for them in our daily lives.  I don't know how many times I have heard that people don't pay attention to their food or sleep or bodily functions, and therefore, their bodies are truly out of physiological balance.  And sometimes the place to start is to reclaim one's sense of self, including reinforcing the reestablishment of the physiological base.

When my body is treated well, I feel better, and because I feel better, I interact with others better which makes me feel even better, and I have more energy and more ability to engage which also lifts my spirits.  And all because I nourished my body, took my supplements, got some sleep and restored some of the margins in my life.  It sounds pretty simple, but how easy is it to forget to do these things when we're stressed?

So if you are in a quandry about where to start, take a look back at the basics as Maslow described, and build a solid foundation.  You will then have a balanced physiological state from which to draw to do more for yourself, and in the process you will experience the success of doing something positive for yourself that you've known how to do all along.  You're worth it!

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