There are five categories of basic human needs, including biological needs, safety, love, esteem and self-actualization. The importance of each category forms a pyramid. Biological needs form the base as they are of the greatest importance in maintaining life. These needs include food, water, air, shelter, sex and sleep.
Once a person has met his or her biological needs, the next concern is for safety. This category includes some type of law and order, freedom from fear, and protection from hostile situations, weather and people. After a person feels secure, love becomes important. The need for love is not just romantic love but a feeling of community and belonging. After achieving the first three needs, people need a sense of accomplishment and independence. People who fulfill this need are respected by others and themselves. Finally, people need to achieve self-actualization. Self-actualized people knows themselves well, understand what they want and know how to go about getting what they want. Each level must be attained before a person can truly move on to the next. Often, life gets in the way and keeps a person from being able to progress, and people may move back and forth between the levels many times during the course of their lives.