Maslow’s theory of self-actualization postulates that human motives can be organized into a hierarchy of needs, which is a systematic arrangement of needs of an individual on the basis of priority of fulfillment of needs.
According to Maslow, the most basic physiological needs of individuals, including food, water, sleep, shelter, oxygen, clothing, matter most to individuals. Once these crucial needs are met successfully, the next level of needs includes the need for safety and security for the fulfillment of which individuals strive to find a world that protects and can keep them free from any kind of harm or dangers.
Maslow asserted that the needs occur in a hierarchical manner and that the fulfillment of one stage is crucial to advance to another and develop in life. Following the need for safety is the need for belonging and love, which initiates the desire to love and be loved in the world, which provides a sense of belonging. While the transition to the next fourth level, individuals seek the realization of esteem needs which is characterized by the needs for education, achievement, competence, and all other important aspects of life in which individuals seek recognition and respect in society. During this phase in life, individuals strive to move forward in their academic and/or professional lives by acquiring knowledge about the world and gaining a sense of esteem and self-respect.
The final and concluding level of hierarchical needs is realized through the desire and need for self-actualization, which entails a thorough and complete comprehension of the self and the vital personal knowledge about one’s place and position in the world in addition to the accomplishments that have been achieved in life. Reaching this level indicates that the absence of guilt, shame, hate, and all vices from behavior that occurs due to the knowledge that human nature is inherently good.