There are many models showing stages or evolutionary levels through life. Evolutionary psychology from Piaget to Erikson and many others. Many of these have been nicely summarised and compared by Ken Wilber in the appendix of his book Integral Psychology. (LINK)
If you look at our fundamental needs as described by Maslow they are an analogy to the evolutionary steps as well as to the evolution of life on Earth.
Maslow has divided our needs in five steps. The first step is the step of “Physiology” or level of plants you could say. They breath, get water and they have a cycle of sleep and awake winter and summer. Animals also need all that, but higher developed animals take care of the family, building or finding a home, reaching the level of “Safety”. The mammals reach into the level of “Love/Belonging” and the Alpha male reaches also “Esteem”, but only humans go all the way to the level of “Self-actualization”.
You can also say that in the womb you are like a plant, then childhood is the realm of “Safety”, teenage years “Love/Belonging”, and as adult you go to “Esteem” or even all the way to “Self-actualization”.
Also through history humans were in earlier time only preocupied with the basic needs, first in modern times more and more people can reach the higher levels.
Many young people today are very preocupied about the level of “Esteem” through “likes” and appearing on TV or internet-platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram ++.
Even the level of “Self-actualization” is possible for many more people to reach.
Sometimes in life you experience a deep grief, a sudden shock or a traumatic experience that make you regress downwards on the pyramid of needs.
If you suffer from post-traumatic syndrom (PSTS) you might end up only operating on the basic levels of “Physiology”. You might be in deep depression, sadness or in a state of indifference where you have no energy, where your sleep is disturbed and you have noe desire for food or sex.
In such a state good periods might be that you manage to have sex with your partner, or that you manage to have a good nights sleep, or that you realy desire or have a craving for some spesific food.
It might be that just a small thing that reminds you of your trauma makes you slide back, and regress to a state of vegetation that makes you loose appetite, your sleep or any sexuality again.
When people are in such a state all other things in life are on pause. As the trauma gets healed they might be able to think about what needs to get done to enter the realm of “Safety” paying bills, getting food, working out, keeping the house.
If things progress even more they might feel like being intimate with their partner, sosialize with friends, gather the family together or do nice things with the family.
A retraumatization can bring them all the way down again, but next time it will take less to get back.
Some people have experienced so big sufferings in early life that it becomes a life project to reach to “self-esteem”. If they never felt loved or appreciated or never got good feedback that might be a project for life before they can reach “Self-actualization”.
Some teenagers are suffering from a broken heart and are not able to perform mentaly in school for weeks or months after.
The needs in the buttom need to be covered to a certain extent before you can perform on the next level. That is also why some people need to sort out there past, there childhood or unresolved issues before they can evolve, or advance up on the pyramid of needs.
Take a look and ask yourself where you are, what have you already achieved and what are you wishing or aspiring for?
What holds you back, what do you need to feel or establish of the basic needs so that you can take the next step?
Perhaps rather than streching yourself from your demands or the demand of others, you need to cultivate and invest in the basic needs of your level so that you naturaly rise to the next level?