With our discussion of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs fresh in my mind, I began to read the first section of The Year of the Flood. With the framework of basic needs versus wants in the forefront of my mind, I saw many instances where Toby had to choose basic, human needs over all else.
I deeply admired how she was able to make difficult sacrifices. She took her circumstances in stride. She was a survivor.
Orphaned, broke, and lacking a safe identity, she found a way to stay alive. She took any work that she could- selling her hair and her eggs. She dropped out of college, cut off communication with her boyfriend, and even sacrificed a proper burial for her father.
These were not basic needs. It does not cross her mind to attempt to fulfill these higher needs if it put her in danger or leaves her hungry and on the street. If it compromised her safety needs or her basic physiological needs, it was sacrificed.
This is not an abstract concept. It happens to many people all over the world, even in our own backyard.
Free school lunches are offered at public schools because it is well documented that students who are malnourished are not going to apply themselves in the classroom. If their basic need of hunger is not met, they will not begin to self-actualize.
When someone is outright rude to me, one of my first thoughts is always “Wow, someones a tad grumpy”. Low bloodsugar? Come on dude, eat a snickers. You’re not you when you’re hungry. But honestly that can easily be the case. Lack of sleep because of an impending final? Skipped lunch? Simply dehydrated? More often then not, you’re not going to go out of your way to be nice to anyone. Needs of belonging and self esteem take a backseat.
Reminds me of a few words one of my best friends sent me the other day. He said: “You never know what’s going on with people. It just makes you want to reach out and be kind to everyone whenever you can. You don’t know whats happening on the inside and you don’t know who really needs a smile and an encouraging word.”
Just something to think about.