The quest for survival starts before the human baby is born; it begins in the womb. From the moment the reptilian mind/brain becomes functional, around the end of the first trimester of gestation, the primary focus of the mind of the fetus is survival.
Because of its species programming, the fetus, and later the baby, instinctively knows how to regulate its body’s internal functioning, how to suckle once it is born and how to signal to its mother that it has unmet physiological needs. At this stage of development, the baby is completely dependent for its survival on its mother or other primary caregivers.
The first thing the baby must learn is to interact with the world around it so it can get its survival needs met. If the infant finds this task difficult or challenging because its parents or caregivers are not vigilant, or if it is abused or left alone or abandoned for long periods of time, the infant may form subconscious beliefs that the world is an un safe place and that it is not loved. Thereafter, throughout his or her life, this person will seek to control their environment to assure their needs get met. Such a person will be cautious and vigilant and tend to micro-manage what ever is happening in their world.
If, the infant’s parents or caregivers are attentive to its needs and are watchful and responsive to signs of distress, then the child will grow up with the feeling that the world is a safe place and people can be trusted.
Feeling competent, and confident about taking care of your self is an essential prerequisite for mastering the self-actualization stage of development later in life.