what about your inner pyramid of needs? 

“Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible.” C. Jung

So that we are on the same page; Abraham Maslow was a clinician in the 60s who designed a pyramid of needs that each person has. To access a higher level in the pyramid, the lower ones need to be filled. 

Without going into details of it right now; the base of this pyramid is physiological needs such as food and water as well as warmth and rest. The very top of the pyramid is Self Actualisation which means personal growth, creative expression and spiritual practices, amongst other things. 

Mostly, these needs are tended to from the outer world, or that is what we’re imagining anyway. But if we look around us today, we can see that many people in the world do have the primary needs met, yet seem to not feel very “self actualised”. 

Actually, if the inner perspective of oneself is starving, it doesn’t matter whether there is a fridge filled with food in the kitchen, you still starve. There is a hunger in most of us that seem impossible to satisfy and a lack of feeling safe that is so prominent that we walk around in fear most of the time. Naturally, with these two primary needs unmet, we feel incapable of belonging with anything, mainly to ourselves and the esteem of ourselves is far from the agenda. 

But the difficulty is that none of this is showing on the outside. This is really what is manifesting when people commit suicide. How often don’t we hear close ones saying afterwards “we had no idea”, “they had everything going for them”, “they were so accomplished and everything to be grateful for”.

But since the inner pyramid of needs was starving, in fear, lonely and completely broken down; there seemed to be but one solution to the suffering. 

We need to start filling our inner physiological needs. We need to feel safe in ourselves, to know ourselves so that we can OWN ourselves because we BELONG to US. When we come from a safe place, a home within, we can relate to others in a healthy way. Ask a starving child not to steal food and it will die. Ask a narcissist not to be selfish and it is actually the same thing. We find it hard to get our heads wrapped around the idea that it’s the people seemingly having the biggest egos that are starving emotionally. We can’t get how the proudest of us are actually experiencing the deepest sense of shame for who they are. 

We try to compensate the lack of filled internal Maslow by exaggerating the external one. So we never really get to the higher levels of the pyramid. 

Hence the lack of Self knowledge. 

Hence the lack of happiness.

It is but a natural response though, to the demand of society of not getting to know who we are. It is perfectly normal that we starve and feel unsafe since we are so very empty inside.

How on earth can I feel safe with myself if I feel like there is nothing inside of me?

How can I feel like I belong to the group if I have no way of connecting with a sense of Self?

With Covid 19, this has become a real problem. The things we had that made us feel safe; the routine of going to work, meeting the colleagues or even just sitting at that same cafe every morning while doing my entrepreneurial work, gave me a feeling of Home, Safe, Belonging.  

So if I haven’t seen to my inner sense of these things before, when the external conditions were taken away, it truly is empty for us. 

What is needed here is to turn this “taboo against knowing who you are” ( read The Book with that name) into a work on getting to know yourself. It can be as simple as creating space every morning to write in your journal. I know, that most of you reading that last line, who haven’t really practiced journaling before, wont see the link of knowing Thyself and writing down your thoughts in the early hours of the day. But the truth of the matter is that those thoughts are clues. They are the pieces of the puzzle to why you feel a certain way.

I have had moments when my journaling made me so depressed because I realised there was just a lot of really depressing thoughts printed on the paper. But it gave me an insight to why I was feeling so sad all the time. We are so used to the narrative in our mind, dictating how we look at the world, that we don’t see it for what it is. A story of words, thoughts, telling us how we are supposed to feel.

The very first step to any change is awareness. Without realising we’re doing something, we cannot do anything about it. When we become aware of the story that our thoughts make for us, we start to see that there is an inner life. This is the beginning stages of connecting to WHO we really are. This is part of the work we do in Nourish-Balance-Thrive, my online program tailored for every participant (yes that is possible!). If you wish to know more about it, check the landing page (https://www.yogicha.com/nourish-balance-thrive/) 


Hi, I’m Charlotte (Yogi Cha). I’m a yoga teacher with a degree in clinical psychology. I’ve always had a deep curiosity toward eastern and western approaches to understanding the mind, and the mind/body union. You’ll find me in the lovely Canggu Bali, nestled amongst coconuts, palm trees and sunshine 🥥🌴🌞