Self Care is all very well, but what if you don’t feel safe?


In 1943 Abraham Maslow published a paper in Psychological Review entitled ‘A Theory of Human Motivation’. It set out how humans function and grow through having basic needs met in their lives. He created a classification system setting out the universal needs of humans in society which is often shown as the triangular diagram below. This is generally known as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.


The theory is that you can’t go onto the layers above unless you have the needs in the layers below already met. So basic physical needs such as food, water and shelter are at the very bottom as you are unlikely to be thinking about self-actualization or even to have good self-esteem if you are cold, wet, and hungry.

You must have those basic needs met in the search for Serenity. Without that you have may have good reason to feel anxious, stressed and afraid. Self Care is the modern buzz word and of course it is important, but there may be some basic survival tasks you have to take care of first.


The lowest layer, Physiological Needs, covers breathing, food, water, shelter, clothing, and sleep -all the very basics of life. In the relative security of Western counties most people have access to these things, although sleep is so important and so neglected in modern society that it is one of my ‘ Six Steps to Serenity’ and will be discussed in more detail in a later post.


Safety is Your First Step to Serenity

The second layer, Safety and Security, is by no means given – irrespective of where you live or who you are. Anyone can suffer ill health, unemployment, loss of family, abuse, and housing insecurity.


This is why ‘Safety’ is your first step to Serenity.


If you don’t feel safe within your relationships, the people you live with or spend time with, if you feel financially insecure or don’t feel safe at home – then this is your most important step. You can implement some of the other steps and that might help you to feel safer, but ultimately you need to secure your safety.


If you don’t want to wait for future posts in this series, you can download my ‘Six Steps to Serenity’ pdf HERE


Ask for help from friends, family or organisations that specialise in your area of need. We are notoriously reluctant to ask for help as we think it makes us appear weak, but sometimes you just can’t do it on your own.


“When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated. This is why we sometimes attack who they are, which is far more hurtful than addressing a behavior or a choice.”
~ Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection


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