Sunday, December 20, 2009

One Rung at a time

There is a theory that I studied extensively in college, Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs. This theory contends that as an individuals basic needs are met, they seek to move up or satisfy higher needs within the hierarchy. The basic concept is that the higher needs in this hierarchy only come into focus once all the needs that are lower down in the pyramid are mainly or entirely satisfied. Self growth creates an upward movement in the hierarchy, whereas regressive behavior pushes needs further down the hierarchy.

I'd like to believe that people that you connect with help you along all levels of the Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, including the ultimate goal of self-actualization. When you simply aren't able to communicate with someone on a fundamental level, be it language or difference of beliefs or opinions or personality, it completely undermines your ability to achieve the last level or two of needs.

Sooner or later, you feel like you're missing something, and you feel empty or inadequate. Be it your faith or that connection you have with people, or that burning desire to find your own place in the world, I think that the people I get along with the best make all levels of the pyramid seem within reach.

Maybe it'd be easier to think of it like ladders going up the pyramid. Each person you meet is a ladder of a different height. The ladders of the people you truly connect with are a lot taller and oftentimes seemingly insurmountable. To get where that ladder will take you seems precarious and risky. But you know it can take you higher up than the shorter ladders you've been climbing.

When you've fallen off of a high ladder, you're wary of climbing up another one whose top you can't see. You settle for small ladders and you get to the top and realize you probably could have gotten that far on your own. And those people serve their purpose, don’t get me wrong, but I really feel that for the most part very few people really “get me”.

As humans, we're bound to slip now and then. Tonight I looked down and was unnerved by how high up the ladder I was going. The journey up the high ladders is seldom easy, otherwise we'd all be doing it all the time. There is a quote that goes "I never said it would be easy, I only said that it would be worth it."

It may take you longer than you had hoped, but every rung higher is a step closer. It may be treacherous at times, and you will feel that you can't go on, but you have to have faith that the solid foundation that you built will hold. That the journey you've embarked upon is worthwhile. Life isn't just about the destination, but the journey. And you should enjoy every ambiguous step and not be in such a rush as to miss out on what is unfolding around you.