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"I complained that I had no shoes, until I met someone who had no feet."
-- Persian proverb  

Semantic bootstrapping --

Bootstrapping alludes to a German legend about Baron Münchhausen, who was able to lift himself out of a swamp by pulling himself up by his own hair. In later versions he was using his own boot straps to pull himself out of the sea which gave rise to the term bootstrapping.

[...] It seems just as impossible as "pulling oneself up by the bootstraps" which Baron Münchhausen, according to stories, could do. However, solutions, accordingly called bootstrapping, exist; they are processes whereby a complex system emerges by starting simply and, bit by bit, developing more complex capabilities on top of the simpler ones. [...]

Unlike many (most, some?), I did not grow up in a Norman Rockwell painting. Sorry Mom. Of course, few of us really do, if the truth be told. Fewer all the time.

Even though I was an over-achieving, curious, straight-A student -- I was plagued with self-esteem issues, and a sense of inadequacy, both with regards to my ideas and my opinions. Thanks Dad. I never was "good enough," was I ...

Teachers couldn't fix it.  Those Church-sessions always made me feel even MORE inferior. It wasn't until I discovered Maslow, and others, in College Psychology courses that I gradually began to find my way out of this internal, wall-of-doubt, self-esteem maze.

I suspect, I'm not the only one who has benefited from "non-traditional" road-maps such as this ... anyways here it is, fwiw ...

The Five Levels of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

by Kendra Cherry, Guide

This hierarchy is most often displayed as a pyramid. The lowest levels of the pyramid are made up of the most basic needs, while the more complex needs are located at the top of the pyramid. Needs at the bottom of the pyramid are basic physical requirements including the need for food, water, sleep, and warmth. Once these lower-level needs have been met, people can move on to the next level of needs, which are for safety and security.

As people progress up the pyramid, needs become increasingly psychological and social. Soon, the need for love, friendship, and intimacy become important. Further up the pyramid, the need for personal esteem and feelings of accomplishment take priority. Like Carl Rogers, Maslow emphasized the importance of self-actualization, which is a process of growing and developing as a person in order to achieve individual potential.

There are five different levels in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:

1) Physiological Needs

2) Security Needs

3) Social Needs

4) Esteem Needs

5) Self-actualizing Needs

Think of that classic 5-layer cake, if you are ever to get to the bride & groom stage, dancing through life on level 5 -- you first have to establish the 4 other levels, below that, to have a solid foundation to build on (sorry Kelly, yup I got a backpack of issues, some of them even "political issues" -- gasp! ).

Even though I've found Maslow's theory very helpful, as a general roadmap through life, I don't necessary adhere to every jot and tittle of it. Life is suppose to be an Adventure, right? (Not just a 5-Step plan.)

Maslow's hierarchy of needs
-- Wikipedia

Physiological needs

Physiological needs are the physical requirements for human survival. If these requirements are not met, the human body cannot function properly, and will ultimately fail. Physiological needs are thought to be the most important; they should be met first.

Safety and Security needs include:

    Personal security
    Financial security
    Health and well-being
    Safety net against accidents/illness and their adverse impacts

Love and belonging

After physiological and safety needs are fulfilled, the third level of human needs is interpersonal and involves feelings of belongingness. [...] such as:


According to Maslow, humans need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance among their social groups, regardless if these groups are large or small. [...] Many people become susceptible to loneliness, social anxiety, and clinical depression in the absence of this love or belonging element. [...]


All humans have a need to feel respected; this includes the need to have self-esteem and self-respect. Esteem presents the typical human desire to be accepted and valued by others. People often engage in a profession or hobby to gain recognition. These activities give the person a sense of contribution or value.  [...] People with low self-esteem often need respect from others; they may feel the need to seek fame or glory. However, fame or glory will not help the person to build their self-esteem until they accept who they are internally. [...]


"What a man can be, he must be."[9] This quotation forms the basis of the perceived need for self-actualization. This level of need refers to what a person's full potential is and the realization of that potential. [...]  For example, one individual may have the strong desire to become an ideal parent. In another, the desire may be expressed athletically. For others, it may be expressed in paintings, pictures, or inventions. [...]

I've been to the mountain top, one or twice, but I still find myself being bounced around the "lower" levels, more than I like to admit.

Sometimes that elevator, between floors, just won't budge.

Self-confidence -- Wikipedia

Factors Affecting Self Confidence

Self-esteem has been directly connected to an individual's social network, the activities they participate in, and what they hear about themselves from others. Positive self-esteem has been linked to factors such as psychological health, mattering to others, and both body image and physical health. On the contrary, low self-esteem has been associated with the outcomes of depression, health problems, and antisocial behavior. Usually, adolescents of poor health will display low self-esteem. [...]

During adolescence, self-esteem is affected by age, race, ethnicity, puberty, health, body height, body weight, body image, involvement in physical activities, gender presentation, gender identity, and awakening or discovery of sexuality. Self-confidence can vary and be observed in a variety of dimensions. Components of one's social and academic life affect self-esteem. An individual's self-confidence can vary in different environments, such as at home or in school.[4]

But at such times, that's when Albert Bandura, can provide the necessary "crobar."  To get the internal gears turning again ...
... If I had a lever large enough I could move the earth.
-- Archimedes

Self-Efficacy -- Psychology Definition of the Week

by Kendra Cherry, Guide -- Sep 2, 2011

According to psychologist Albert Bandura, self-efficacy is our belief in our ability to succeed in certain situations. The concept plays a major role in Bandura's social learning theory, which focuses on how personality is shaped by social experience and observational learning.

Your sense of self-efficacy has a major influence on how you approach challenges and goals. When confronted with a challenge, do you believe that you can succeed or are you convinced that you will fail? People with strong self-efficacy are those who believe that they are capable of performing well. These people are more likely to view challenges as something to be mastered rather than avoided.

The Role of Self-Efficacy

Virtually all people can identify goals they want to accomplish, things they would like to change, and things they would like to achieve. However, most people also realize that putting these plans into action is not quite so simple. Bandura and others have found that an individual’s self-efficacy plays a major role in how goals, tasks, and challenges are approached.

According to Bandura, there are four major sources of self-efficacy.

1. Mastery Experiences

"The most effective way of developing a strong sense of efficacy is through mastery experiences," Bandura explained. Performing a task successfully strengthens our sense of self-efficacy [like learning to read & write HTML]. However, failing to adequately deal with a task or challenge can undermine and weaken self-efficacy.

2. Social Modeling

Witnessing other people successfully completing a task is another important source of self-efficacy. According to Bandura, "Seeing people similar to oneself succeed by sustained effort raises observers' beliefs that they too possess the capabilities master comparable activities to succeed."

3. Social Persuasion

Bandura also asserted that people could be persuaded to believe that they have the skills and capabilities to succeed. Consider a time when someone said something positive and encouraging that helped you achieve a goal. Getting verbal encouragement from others helps people overcome self-doubt and instead focus on giving their best effort to the task at hand.

4. Psychological Responses

Our own responses and emotional reactions to situations also play an important role in self-efficacy. Moods, emotional states, physical reactions, and stress levels can all impact how a person feels about their personal abilities in a particular situation. [...]

larger -- Image source

When all-else fails -- well you always have "yourself" ...

And hey, when yourself lets you down, there's always those Baron Münchhausen Bootstraps to reach for.  Heh.

No one ever said it was gonna be easy. But very few things worth having in life, are.

(PS. Happy Holidays, fellow travelers.  Thank goodness, the New Year's almost here.)

When for some strange reason, hope always seems to begin anew.

Until it gets once again, stuck in the mud.  And we all got to push a little to get it unstuck.

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