Struggles of Juanita

Struggles of Juanita


Humans have diverse needs, and they use a diversity of ways to satisfy them. Abraham Maslow proposed that all human needs and their motives could be successfully organized around several categories, in the order of their relative importance. Maslows hierarchy of needs was created to explain the progression and prioritization of individual needs from the simple physiological to more complicated aesthetic and self-actualization needs. The case of Juanita is a classic example of how various factors impede the process of self-actualization in individuals. It is the Jonah complex, or considerable doubts about the womans capabilities to realize her strivings in a new professional domain. Hence, a better understanding of Maslows hierarchy could greatly facilitate her movement towards the desired professional goals.

According to Abraham Maslow, all human needs can be organized around several different categories. His hierarchy of needs is a systematic arrangement of needs, according to priority, in which basic needs must be met before less basic needs are aroused (Wieten & McCann, 2010, p. 394). Simply stated, Maslow presents the progress of the human needs from the more to less essential ones, with self-actualization being the peak of individual growth as a personality. The fundamental assumption behind Maslows hierarchy of needs is that all individuals have a natural inclination to pursue individual growth (Weiten & McCann, 2010). However, various factors can facilitate or impede individuals self-actualization decisions and actions, and the case of Juanita presents a complex example of how the Johan complex does not allow individuals achieving their self-actualization goals.

Maslows hierarchy of needs provides a perfect prism for analyzing Juanitas situation. Apparently, she has successfully passed the stage when her physiological needs were unsatisfied. According to Schultz and Schultz (2013), only when the basic physiological needs are satisfied, individuals switch to other, less important needs, such as safety and behavioral control. Juanita has always had a nice job, and she seemed to be fully satisfied with the benefits provided by the job. She seems to be a hard worker, and her outstanding workplace experiences make Juanita a valuable worker, thus, increasing her sense of job security. Actually, Maslows hierarchy of needs suggests that adults, who are emotionally healthy, have most of their safety and security needs satisfied (Schultz & Schultz, 2013). Not surprisingly, Juanita finds herself at a higher stage of Maslows hierarchy, where safety and security needs are no longer a matter of concern.

The situation with the need for love and belongingness is quite similar: Juanita has two wonderful children, who are approaching their college age, although she has been single for more than 10 years. The need for love and belongingness can be expressed through any close relationship, be it a friend, a relative, or a mate (Schulz & Schulz, 2013). Certainly, Juanita may have difficulties establishing and maintaining close social relationships due to her being constantly busy at work. Moreover, she regrets being a single woman; however, her regrets about her single status hardly indicate her strong desire for a mate. Rather, Juanita seeks to alleviate the burden of family responsibilities she used to carry in the last 10 years, so that she could finally focus on her self-actualization needs. Most likely, the woman does not notice the love and belonging she receives from her children, who could readily become her most ardent supporters, as she is pursuing a new professional career. Still, the fact that Juanita has reached the stage of self-actualization means that both her need for love and her need for self-esteem are fully satisfied. The latter is mostly associated with the satisfaction that allows every individual to feel confident about his/her strength, adequacy, and worth, which eventually increase his/her productivity and competence in all aspects of life (Schulz & Schulz, 2013, p. 314). Apparently, Juanita feels confident enough about her skills and abilities to start a career in psychology, although the process of self-actualization presents a number of difficulties.

Maslow suggests that if the person has passed a long way towards self-actualization, but is not self-actualizing, he/she will feel frustrated, restless, and discontent (Schulz & Schulz, 2013). It is exactly what is happening to Juanita, whose feeling of guilt impedes her self-actualizing activities and decisions. The Johan complex is used to describe any individual, who does not pursue his/her life calling (Stanko, 2004). Juanita finds herself in a situation, when she is more afraid of future successes than of her future failures (Stanko, 2004). She thinks that her professional success and her desire to focus on a new professional career leave no space to her love for children. She suffers from the sense of guilt for not being able to devote enough time to them. At present, Juanita has created almost all necessary conditions to satisfy her self-actualization needs: she seems to be free from the constraints imposed on her by society; her lower-order needs are satisfied, and she has a realistic knowledge of her weaknesses and strengths (Schulz & Schulz, 2013). What she lacks is a better understanding of the fact that she is still secure in her relationships with her children, who will love her, and she will love them in return (Schulz & Schulz, 2013). Juanita cannot achieve the desired level of self-determination because her intrinsic motivation to become a psychologist is hindered by the lack of autonomy and relatedness or, in other words, freedom to pursue her interests and a feeling of a close connection with her children (Schulz & Schulz, 2013).

Juanita is not confident that her children will approve her motivations, but a better understanding of Maslows hierarchy could pave the way to her professional development and self-actualization. Juanita needs to understand that while her basic needs are fully satisfied, she cannot stop at the point of non-self-actualization. Otherwise, and as mentioned earlier, the feeling of discontent will pursue her until the rest of her life. In addition, she needs to reconsider her demands for love and belongingness, and discuss her concerns with her children. Most likely, she will find enough support and assistance in her desire to become a psychologist.

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In conclusion, Juanita should review Maslows hierarchy of needs. In most cases, such reviews are necessary to understand if any of the individuals basic needs are still unmet. Yet, for Juanita, this is just another possibility to see and confirm that all basic needs have been successfully addressed, making self-actualization a logical result of her productive work. The woman experiences a sense of guilt, which impedes her self-actualization attempts. By reviewing Maslows hierarchy of needs, Juanita will have a good chance to forget about being guilty for the things that exist only in her imagination.

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