Love, Belonging, and Esteem
These three needs on Maslow’s Hierarchy represent our sense of social comfort. When our needs for Love, Belonging, and Esteem are not met, we are less capable of controlling our emotions, and we are more likely to have emotions which are disruptive or unpleasant.
Like we talked about in the Happiness video, Love is an emotion that we experience when we feel like other people care about our well being. They don’t actually have to care about us, we just need to feel like they do. To expand on this, it’s important to recognize that there are many forms of love. Our love of ourselves is as vitally important as the love we receive from others when we are subconsciously calculating our need for love. Learning to love yourself better or more can make a huge difference in your ability to regulate your emotions, as can building an environment for yourself where you feel loved and appreciated by others.
Belonging is our sense of whether or not we fit in, are wanted where we are, and whether we’re comfortable in those places or with those people. Introverts might meet some of their need for belonging by spending time alone, as that’s the place they feel the most belonging. However, most people (including most introverts) need at least some sense of belonging with others in order to thrive. If you constantly feel like you stick out, or are unwelcome in your social or family circles, you may need to change your behavior, your social circle, or your perception of your place in the social circle.
Esteem, commonly referred to as Respect, is our sense that others hold us in high regard, and that we hold ourselves in high regard. When we feel respected by others, but feel little respect for ourselves, it can be just as disruptive (if not more) than feeling disrespected by others constantly.
Warning: You can never force Esteem or Respect, whether you’re looking at self-esteem or self-respect, or as they relate to others. If you walk into a room believing everyone should respect you, you are more likely to be treated with hesitancy or disrespect, because you haven’t earned the esteem you’re demanding (even if that demand is unspoken). The best way to gain respect from others is to find those who you share values with, and then show up and live within your values. Others will see that you are a person with shared values with them, and will progressively esteem you higher and higher.
We will go into different skills to help with each of these categories, but you don’t need fancy tricks to start making a big difference today. Start by evaluating yourself, how you live, what you do with your time, energy, and emotions, and then decide whether that is how you would like those resources to be used. Making small changes in how we spend our time, or what we spend time thinking about, can make huge differences in our lives in the short- and long-term.
Our sense of Love, Belonging, and Esteem are critical components to meeting our needs according to Maslow’s Hierarchy. When we start to identify ways we can improve our relationship with these factors, we can begin to improve our lives immediately. If you aren’t sure how to implement changes, you can stay tuned for future videos/articles, or you can see counseling with a therapist or peer support specialist in your area.