Well, do you? If you’ve ever read a self-help book or attended a motivational seminar, you’ve likely heard or even said something like this. And science is now showing through neuroplasticity that we can rewire our brains and create more empowering thoughts that lead us to ever greater results. But here’s the catch: If you’re not regularly meeting your basic biological and physiological needs; if you’re not meeting your needs for safety and security; if you don’t feel loved or like you belong; or if you have low self-esteem, then you won’t be able to access your infinite potential.
Think of these areas as stacking one on top of the other. Unless the base needs are met, it’s very unlikely you’ll be able to meet the needs at the higher levels. It’s like climbing a ladder. You’ve got to start at the bottom and climb your way to the top. So if you’re wondering why you can’t seem to create something truly amazing for yourself and your life, ask yourself if you’re currently meeting your other needs.
- Biological and physiological – clean air and water, nourishing food, adequate shelter, sufficient sleep, a shirt on your back.
- Safety and security – personal safety, employment, basic resources required to live and work.
- Love and belonging – friendship, intimacy, family, a sense of connection.
- Esteem – respect, self-esteem, status, recognition, strength, freedom.
Many people are stuck in the first two levels just trying to survive and get through their days. They can’t wish themselves out of this level of stress. Saying affirmations just won’t cut it. Until they’re able to meet their basic human needs and feel safe and secure, they’re not equipped to move on to love and belonging and self-esteem, much less onward towards self-actualization.
So, although it’s true that each of us has unlimited potential, many of us cannot unlock and access this potential because of the life circumstances we find ourselves in. I think each of us has a responsibility to do the work on ourselves to tap into our potential so that we can do the work in our families and communities to ensure that every one of us can meet the basic human needs required to help our sisters and brothers climb that ladder.
Once we’ve met those basic needs, it’s imperative that we feel connected to others. If you know someone who’s isolated, reach out to them and see how you can help them feel more connected. A sense of belonging is critical to our becoming all that we are capable of being. And, it’s that sense of connection and belonging that builds our self-esteem and helps us develop the strength and fortitude required to do the work of self-actualization.
If you want to advance your own journey towards your infinite potential, help someone else with theirs. Who can you extend a hand to and help them up their own ladder? As we help others see a better version of themselves, we build that better version of ourselves. And, we feel better in the process. Life is meant to be shared. Go out and share yours today.