A theory I’ve been mulling of late is a hierarchy of feelings that we need/crave.
I think said hierarchy is safety -> love -> belonging -> respect -> admiration.
It starts with physical safety. That means a certain amount of money combined with good health. That money buys us space and essentials. In its absence, we are at our worst, are overwhelmed, and function well below our normal intelligence levels.
Once we have that, we crave mental safety. This means being surrounded by people who we trust. Staying clear of bullies and/or mental or emotional abuse moves us past this.
Next, we yearn for love. Living with someone we love and who loves us is a very special gift.
After love, we seek belonging within a group. We typically find it in our work, with our friends, as part of our faith, and/or some other social group.
Most humans spend their time seeking one of safety, love, and belonging. The absence of these at critical points in our life spawns insecurities that stay with us for the rest of our lives.
For those fortunate enough to move past these, the next needs are respect and admiration. These move us from the realms of insecurity to confidence.
But, both of these are tricky needs to navigate. That’s because they often have us fooled into believing we need widespread respect and admiration.
In reality, respect and admiration from ourselves and a few others we care about is all we need. But, that is tricky in its own way because the one person whose respect we crave the most – the person we look at in the mirror – is the hardest to win over.