Maslow’s pyramid is one of the best known and most widespread psychological models in terms of the psychology of needs and motivations.

This hierarchy of needs, formulated in the middle of the 20th century, establishes a series of requirements that must be satisfied in ascending order, from the most basic to the highest, and that goes from physiological needs to those of self-realization. In this article we will talk about one of the intermediate levels: the needs of esteem .

What are the needs of esteem according to Maslow?

Abraham Maslow was a psychologist especially known for being one of the promoters of the so-called Humanist Psychology, a paradigm that puts special emphasis on the private, subjective and emotional aspects of human experience and consciousness.

This trend, moreover, focused on bringing people to their potential, rather than intervening on mental health problems or other disorders that cause specific discomfort expressed in symptoms. Therefore, it was important to know how to delimit the objectives and goals towards which individuals should look in order to achieve their personal development.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, usually represented in the form of a triangle or pyramid, is an effort to achieve this purpose, and establishes several types of areas of psychological and physical well-being to be covered: physiological needs, security needs, affiliation needs, esteem or recognition needs, and self-realization needs.

As an initial summary, we can say that the needs of esteem are those that have to do with having the respect of others and of oneself , a good social status, the possibility of others placing their trust in our hands and, in general, having a series of advantages that are expressed in personal relationships and in the treatment that others give us, even if they do not belong to our family or closest circle of friends.

All of this has repercussions on one of the most important psychological constructs for Humanist Psychology: self-esteem, or the evaluation that is made of oneself in terms of abilities, talents, potential, etc.
Let us see in a little more detail what its components are and what must be done to satisfy the needs for recognition.

Components of recognition requirements

Although each individual experiences as a whole his personal relations, from the point of view of psychology it is possible to subdivide the concept of the needs of esteem to see what kind of interactions and social capital constitutes it.

Thus, by placing the magnifying glass on this level of Maslow’s pyramid, we find the following elements .

1. Respect for others and improved self-esteem

Human beings are made to live together with others in relatively large social groups, whose boundaries are sometimes so far away that they are difficult to define. This means, among other things, that the image we have of ourselves is largely formed by the way in which we perceive that others see us .

Therefore, self-esteem does not exist as something isolated and independent, but also arises from interaction with others. And, on the other hand, not having the respect of others will make it more likely to develop low self-esteem, which has a direct impact on the subject’s quality of life and his propensity to expose himself to social interactions.

2. The share capital

The fact that others have a favourable attitude towards you makes it easier to count on your support, both in situations where your help is needed to avoid a harmful situation and to undertake joint projects with which, thanks to collaboration, one’s standards of living are improved .

This improvement in the quality of life is reflected in public life (relations with a wide circle of people) and also in private life (private material goods), so this need is related to others.

Increased ability to help others

When the needs for esteem and recognition are covered, it is more frequent that others spontaneously put their trust in us, which allows us to help them and thus orient ourselves towards new objectives and motivating situations that make us feel good.

Types of estimation needs

Abraham Maslow established another small classification within the concept of esteem needs, by distinguishing between high and low esteem (not to be confused with high or low self-esteem).

High estimate

High esteem has to do with self-esteem: self-worth or self-esteem. Having this area of our well-being well taken care of makes us enjoy self-confidence, orientation towards autonomy and independence, the belief that we can reach our goals, etc.

Low estimate

Low esteem is not as directly related to self-esteem as the previous category, since it is based on the respect that other people have for us (respect not in an intimidating sense). Thus, having this specific need covered implies having a good reputation and social status, which translates into numerous advantages in public and private life .

Bibliographic references:

  • Deckers, L. (2018). Motivation: Biological, Psychological, and Environmental. Routledge Press.
  • Rosal C., R. (1986). Personal growth (or self-realization): goal of humanist psychotherapies. Yearbook of psychology / The UB Journal of psychology. No.: 34.