Understanding Yourself To Understand Others

How to evolve beyond our basic human fundamental needs and discover a whole new way of being.

The Problem With Wokeness by Ayishat Akanbi

Once you understand yourself, it’s very easy to understand everyone else. So easy because we’re actually not that different. We’re actually painfully quite ordinary. How our ordinariness and our trauma and our pain manifests is very different. But the root causes to why we act in the ways that we act often is insecurity. We want belonging. We want acceptance. Fundamental things to a human. If we are more understanding of at least ourselves, you know, it’s so hard to judge other people. 

Ayishat Akanbi, The Problem with Wokeness

BTW these basic “human fundamentals” she’s talking about mirror with what both Richard Barrett has been talking about for decades as The Values of Humanity and what Scott Barry Kaufman is now providing another perspective of (using a newer metaphor to help describe it to others, so they can relate to it more easily). What they’re talking about here are deficiency needs which were first revealed by Abraham Maslow. And if we can “rise above them“, we can finally have the opportunity to “open ourselves up” to our growth needs.

Maslow argued that all the needs can be grouped into two main classes of needs, which must be integrated for wholeness: deficiency and growth.

Deficiency needs, which Maslow referred to as “D-needs,” are motivated by a lack of satisfaction, whether it’s the lack of food, safety, affection, belonging, or self-esteem. The “D-realm” of existence colors all of our perceptions and distorts reality, making demands on a person’s whole being: “Feed me! Love me! Respect me!” The greater the deficiency of these needs, the more we distort reality to fit our expectations and treat others in accordance with their usefulness in helping us satisfy our most deficient needs. In the D-realm, we are also more likely to use a variety of defense mechanisms to protect ourselves from the pain of having such deficiency in our lives. Our defenses are quite “wise” in the sense that they can help us to avoid unbearable pain that can feel like too much to bear at the moment.

Nevertheless, Maslow argued that the growth needs—such as self-actualization and transcendence—have a very different sort of wisdom associated with them. Distinguishing between “defensive-wisdom” and “growth-wisdom,” Maslow argued that the Being-Realm of existence (or B-realm, for short) is like replacing a clouded lens with a clear one. Instead of being driven by fears, anxieties, suspicions, and the constant need to make demands on reality, one is more accepting and loving of oneself and others. Seeing reality more clearly, growth-wisdom is more about “What choices will lead me to greater integration and wholeness?” rather than “How can I defend myself so that I can feel safe and secure?”

Scott Barry Kaufman, Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization

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