Primary Needs
SHELTER: everyone needs to have it

My friend and his 12-year-old son got kicked out of their home last week.

They’ve been having a rough time for a while,but being on the streetsseemed like a new low.

Amazingly, though, when I saw him a few days later, he was a very happy man.

The happiest I’ve seen him since before his divorce battlebegan two years ago.

Mic didn’t get the boot from the house he owns with his former wife.

He left that one voluntarily a long time ago and she still lives there.

The place he left last week wasa guest flat on someone else’s property.

Originally, he and his son were going to stay there for a few months while Mic sorted his marriage, financial affairs and the rest of his life.

Aside from getting a divorce, however, those things have not happened, and father and son have out-stayed their welcome as the owner had plans for the flat beforethey moved in.

Yes, Mic has had some complicated problems and he has struggled to keep his spirits up.

As a matter of fact, relatives and friends were worried this latest setback might push him over the edge, but that hasn’t happened.

I’m guessing that’s becauseneeding to find a place to stay was different from the divorce and child custody disputes and the financial and emotional worriesthat have been bringing him down.

This latest problem had a clear-cut solution.

Either you have shelter, or you don’t.

Full stop. And when you have a serious problem, other issues fade in significance.

When I saw him, Mic wasn’t happy about needing to find a place for his son and him to live, he was happy because he had found something.

He got a lot of help from his family, but that’s beside the point.

Mic had a primary problem and he solved it, so he was happy.

He still is, but a theory known as, ‘Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs’, predicts that won’t last.

Even if that is the case, though, there may be something we can learn from my friend’s temporary high.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow listed our primary needs as food, water, shelter, warmth, rest and safety, and he said if we don’t have those things, we won’t care about anything else.

Once we have them though, he says we will be happy for a while and then move on to wanting things like, love, friendship and prestige.

Those are secondary needs and they are much more difficult to satisfy because we can never be certain we have them.

If we think we do, however, we then move on to the top level of needs which deal with reaching our full potential, which is probably impossible to achieve.

The lesson I think we can learn from this is that there are two ways to pursue happiness.

We can try to work our way up Maslow’s ladder of needs, or we can get back to basics by doing things like camping and hiking that allow us to satisfy primary needs.

The best option might be to do a bit of both… although I think it would be wise to stop short of losing your home.

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