“The deepest urge in human nature is the desire to be important.” John Dewey, an American philosopher, made a significant statement when he said this. This desire to be important is the foundation of which each of us is bases ourselves off of. We want a decent job to have status amongst our peers and spend the money made on items that are believed to boost our importance. We want praises and approval of our talents, no matter how small. We are not creatures of logical, we are creatures of emotion. We are creatures that have a longing to be important.
Many people have tried so hard to gain this sort of importance that they drive themselves and others into a psychosis. Some people have created a reality in their mind that they are in the center stage. For some it’s bliss and happiness but sadly there are a few that experience paranoia. For the few that are not diagnosed, they alter their reality and their relative importance with drugs, alcohol, shopping, or sex.
The fourth level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is the Esteem Needs. The esteem needs are important because this includes how you see yourself, how you want others to see you and your worth. In this society, the esteem needs are the most important. However, most needs are completely superficial. In order to master and understand the esteem needs you need to deeply reflect on yourself and find the underlying truth of what society is asking. Reflection can be difficult. You may have built an entire ego on esteem and looking into yourself is terrifying. So is spending your life building on set rules that society has created. It’s scary, difficult and un-wanted. However, it is necessary.
The most important esteem need is self-esteem. Without self-esteem you cannot properly have any relationships or understanding of the other esteem needs. This can lead down a dark path of self-destruction, over compensating and a façade that will become tiresome to uphold. Self-esteem is not waking up every day and thinking “I’m the most attractive person in the world!” True self-esteem is to know who you really are, accept what is un-desirable about you and change what you can in a safe and psychologically positive manner. You’re allowed to believe that you’re the most attractive person in the world but you shouldn’t base yourself on such an empirical statement. In the words of Dita Von Teese “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” No one can out do you. True self-esteem is saying “I have flaws, I have desirable features, I have strength and I have weaknesses. All together they make me who I am, and I love myself for it.” True self esteem isn’t thinking that you’re the most perfect person, it’s knowing you are the most perfect you.
We all put on a façade. We all have a mask to wear. Our masks are created to keep our vulnerable-self safe and to allow us to live in society. That’s fine to a degree. The mask you wear in front of your grandparents is different than the mask you wear in front of your friends. Wearing a mask becomes harmful when it is put on to create an unrealistic illusion of you. This may be difficult to understand. You wear a polite mask in front of your grandparents to make them see the positive side of you. This mask is fine because it highlights the features of yourself that actually exists. You wear a fake mask in front of people you are trying to empress. You’re creating features about yourself that do not exist. It’s okay to try to see yourself in different perspectives but you should never create a false version of yourself to empress someone. This can lead to a much easier fall to peer-pressure and harmful activities. If you’re willing to get rid of someone so unique as yourself, who knows what else you’re willing to do to get approvable. Wanting to be someone else is a waste of who you are. It’s a dangerous and easy fall into destruction.
The last focus of the esteem needs is the focus of worth. Worth is hard to understand. A dollar is just a piece of green paper, that’s it. It is worth (supposedly) its amount in gold. You are a human. You are a person just like everyone else on Earth. Your worth does change. It’s scary to think that your worth changes with each person, but in reality it does. Sugar coating a fact doesn’t help anyone. You (hopefully) are or will be worth more to your children than to a stranger. To a stranger you pass on the street, you may be worth differently compared to if that stranger was hurt and you were assisting them. You can never be worthless but your role of worth does change. Being the captain of the debate team in college or high school makes you worth a lot to the school but once you start working (unless you’re a lawyer) your worth in the debate team changes. That’s it. Your worth changes over time, so make sure you spend your time with people wisely.
The esteem needs are the needs that will take the most time to figure out. Self-esteem is the base. You have to truly love and accept yourself before anything. You can’t love someone if you don’t love yourself. How can you? How can you know how to love if you can’t love who you are? There is always room for self-improvement. You should always aim to be the best possible version of yourself. You should never change who you are to make someone like you. If you do that, the person really doesn’t like you. They like the idea of you that you’ve created. That’s harmful and disrespectful of you. Your value doesn’t decrease because a person cannot understand your value. If you take an American dollar to the Middle East and try to use it for currency, its worth has changed not decreased. The main message of the article is to find what is important to you and be true to yourself. Celebrate who you are and keep improving.