You might realize your full potential to achieve self-actualization. It will help you if you take the following advice.
As great psychologists have centered on what makes people thrive, the innate desire for growth in humans has repeatedly emerged. In contrast to being a hobby or pastime, the self-actualization theory claims that this desire is a fundamental aspect of human nature.
The theory is well-liked in all areas of personal development outside of psychology. Away from the shelves of self-help books and blog posts, people usually seek self-actualization when they begin to think about their potential and capacity for growth.
Self-Actualization Theory by Abraham Maslow
Psychotherapist Abraham Maslow, best known for his theory of the hierarchy of needs, also developed the self-actualization theory. Maslow acknowledged the challenge of precisely and firmly defining self-actualization in his 1954 book Motivation and Personality.
This discussion can be broadly defined as making the most of one’s potential, capabilities, and other assets. Such people remind us of Nietzsche’s advice to “Become what thou art!” because they appear to be living out their potential and performing to the best of their abilities.
These are people who have reached or are achieving their full potential. These possibilities may apply to an individual or the entire species.
The definition of “actualization” is “to realize or make real.” Self-actualization, then, is expressing your truest self – the “self” hidden behind all constraints – in all of its fullness.
Maslow’s greatest contribution to psychology was to broaden its scope and move it away from pathological concepts like mental illness and toward the humanistic ideal of flourishing people. He believed that “striving for excellence” is a common experience.
Theories of Self-Actualized Individuals by Carl Rogers and Kurt Goldstein
Kurt Goldstein and Carl Rogers are two other eminent intellectuals who have influenced the idea of self-actualization. Maslow acknowledged Goldstein’s theory of self-actualization in his framework.
The distinctions among theories don’t matter in terms of self-development. In essence, according to Goldstein, actualization is a fundamental component of all living things.
To illustrate, consider the metaphor of a plant that emerges from a seed and grows through the soil toward the sun. In contrast to Maslow, who saw it as a need or desire, Rogers saw this as an ongoing “negotiation” between one’s identity as they are.
In Maslow’s hierarchy, from lowest to highest, the basic needs are:
- Physiological needs: The basic needs are necessary for life. They comprise things like nutrition, breathing, shelter, and food.
- Security and safety Needs: After these are satisfied, second-level requirements include financial security, good health, and general well-being.
- Social Needs: The third level focuses on love, acceptance, and a sense of belonging. Think about your connections to your community, family, and other people.
- Esteem Needs: The fourth level of needs is related to respect and appreciation. When other needs are satisfied, people tend to gravitate toward being valued for who they are.
Deficit needs and growth needs are divided into Maslow’s five-stage model. The four levels mentioned above are all examples of deficiency needs, which need to develop as a result of a deficiency and must be satisfied to prevent suffering or discomfort.
Self-actualization needs, at the top of the pyramid, are growth needs – those that move towards a goal, not away from suffering or lack.
The hierarchy of needs is not a fixed model but rather a loosely organized scheme. The percentage-based levels are explained by Maslow’s concept of relative satisfaction.
It points to a common misunderstanding with the model: it’s not that all needs at every lower level have to be met, all of the time, to move up the hierarchy.
According to Maslow, some people’s desire for creative fulfillment may outweigh even their most basic needs.
Peak Moments and Self-Actualization
Maslow began to delve deeper into human nature as he got older. He added a level to this model that is frequently disregarded: self-transcendence.
Another requirement for growth is self-transcendence, which is the desire to transform one’s sense of self into a sense of service to others and kinship with the larger cosmos.
Maslow was troubled by his model. He expressed the desire to write a critique of his theory in a journal entry that was later made public after his passing.
“Reading through my notes made me aware of this unease. He wrote, “I’ve had it for years. I intended to draft and publish a self-actualization critique, but I never did. I believe I understand the reason now.”
Maslow acknowledged that his theory did not take spiritual development into account and that he frequently confused traits associated with self-actualization and self-transcendence.
Deeply mystical, his theory of peak experiences connected these more to self-transcendence than self-actualization.
Therefore, it’s crucial to remember that Maslow himself wanted to question and revise his theory to include the spiritual components of being.
Traits That Self-Actualized Individuals Frequently Share.
In his research, Maslow examined the traits and characteristics of individuals he believed to be self-actualized. While understanding the levels of needs is one thing, what does self-actualization look like when it is embodied?
The list by psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman is refined below, and it was used as a scale for a study published in the Journal of Humanistic Psychology.
Continued freshness of appreciation: The capacity to delight in life’s daily pleasures while remaining in awe of them!
Being authentic means upholding one’s principles and moral standards under trying conditions!
Equanimity is the capacity to remain calm in the face of life’s ups and downs.
A sense of mission or higher purpose in one’s life is referred to as purpose.
A desire to perceive reality more accurately rather than relying on false assumptions is what is meant by an efficient perception of reality.
Humanitarianism is the capacity for empathy and the desire to aid all of humanity.
Peak encounters: These involve feelings of unity and the transcendence of one’s problems or worries.
Strong internal connections to a sense of right or wrong, as well as the resolve to uphold those morals, are characteristics of good moral intuition.
The ability to bring a creative mindset to both work and play is referred to as having a “creative spirit,” which also includes a childlike spontaneity.
Keep in mind that this isn’t a checklist you have to check off, but rather the outcome of a self-actualized person. I say this because the ego can take over the process and try to imitate these traits in an untrue way.
He stated that “It is as if the average citizen is satisfied perhaps 85% of his physiological needs, 70% of his safety needs, 50% of his love needs, 40% of his self-esteem needs, and 10% of his self-actualization needs.”
You can get there by engaging in eight key behaviors. Maslow observed that many people believed they had attained self-actualization when they had not.
Maslow provides eight suggestions for achieving self-actualization in The Farther Reaches of Human Nature.
1. Turn Up.
Maslow noted that self-actualized individuals were able to transcend their thoughts and ego-centered needs. This observation should not come as a surprise.
It makes sense that Maslow would say that simply being in the moment is a “self-actualizing moment.” When you are completely present, your true self will show.
Investigating the factors that keep you from being present is also beneficial, in my opinion. Look into what limits your ability to be fully present and consider ways to overcome these obstacles.
2. Know Your Options.
According to Viktor Frankl, there is a space between the stimulus and the reaction. We are free to select our course of action in that regard.
How we react is what determines our freedom and growth. The more present you are, the freer you are to choose because you aren’t acting automatically or unconsciously.
According to Maslow, choices could be either progressive or regressive. Self-actualization is an ongoing process, so choosing growth over stagnation is always an option.
To make each of these decisions as a growth choice, Maslow says, “it means making each of the individual decisions about whether to lie or be honest, whether to steal or not steal at a specific point.”
This has a significant impact given that one study found that we make 35,000 decisions each day, which might seem excessive but illustrates how frequently we make “micro choices.”
3. Be Truthful.
Honesty is applied to oneself as well as to everyone else. Maslow believes that honesty and responsibility go hand in hand; despite the fact that there are situations in which it is appropriate to be diplomatic or polite (there are such things as “prosocial lies,” which are told for the benefit of others).
According to Maslow, one can “see it, feel it, and know the moment of responsibility” during psychotherapy. “Then, a distinct awareness of how it feels is present. This is one of the excellent steps. One becomes more fully themselves every time they take on responsibility.”
Deception of oneself is one of the biggest challenges. My personal motto has worked well for me over the years: choose the ugly truth over the beautiful lie. Ugly truths ultimately foster growth and authenticity, despite the fact that they may be painful in the short term.
4. Do Not Be Concerned about Conformity.
I’ve previously written about being a professional nice guy and how trying to please everyone is a huge barrier to growth. I once harbored the desire for universal acceptance. This desire has caused a great deal of anxiety and dishonest behavior.
However, the path to self-actualization involves self-trust. It’s not easy to operate against convention or the status quo, but how many of life’s greatest thinkers or revolutionaries were unpopular at the time?
Regardless of what others may believe, finding the path that is best for you gets simpler as you become more in tune with your intuition and authenticity.
Which areas of your life do you put off because you fear offending others?
5. Improve Yourself Constantly.
Your fullest potential emerges moment by moment. Individuals who have achieved self-actualization don’t simply cross a finish line and then unwind, happy with their accomplishment of reaching this lofty level of self-actualization.
According to Maslow, utilizing one’s intelligence is a crucial part of self-actualization. It may involve going through a difficult and demanding period of preparation to realize one’s potential, even though it doesn’t always involve doing something radical. “.
This offers a compelling viewpoint on self-actualization. The objective of realizing your full potential can almost be viewed as a duty and responsibility.
World-class performers – whether they are actors, musicians, or athletes – continue to push their limits even after success or critical acclaim. According to Maslow, “self-actualization means working to do well the thing that one wants to do.”
What opportunities would you like to pursue, and what would you give anything to achieve?
6. Spot Peak Performance When It Occurs.
Self-actualization peaks are brief moments in time. These are ecstatic moments that cannot be purchased, guaranteed, or even sought after, according to Maslow.
These sensations of wonder and joy, a sense of being part of something bigger, and those subtle shifts in perception are what cause us to fall in love with the beauty of life and the miraculous on the horizon.
Although peak experiences cannot be forced, Maslow argues that the right circumstances can be created to help you have more of them.
These encounters point in the direction of the path of self-actualization and serve as a foreshadowing of what is to come in terms of the fullness of experience.
It began with developing a regular meditation routine, giving up alcohol, increasing my time outdoors, and connecting to the life I truly, deeply desired to live. This required me to make a few radical shifts, but how do you set up these conditions?
The closer I am to that true expression, the more often I experience peaks. I can better determine what suits me and what creates the ideal conditions the more “data” I have.
I implore you to recall those sublime moments in the same way. What were you doing, who were you being, and how can you invite more of this into your life?
7. Be Prepared to Handle Psychopathology by Being Aware of it.
If the psychoanalytic literature has taught us anything, according to Maslow, it is that repression is a bad way to deal with issues. Self-actualization involves a difficult journey inside to discover your true potential.
Identifying one’s defenses and having the courage to overcome them are necessary for self-actualization, according to Maslow.
Because barriers have been put up to prevent something unpleasant, this hurts. Giving up your defenses, though, is worthwhile. “.
This final stage serves as yet another reminder of the reasons why so few people achieve self-actualization. Are you willing to follow the 1 percent on the road to self-actualization and to embrace discomfort to advance?
The idea that self-actualization is purely personal or self-interested is erroneous. Although it isn’t true, this has been a common criticism.
Self-actualization needs include self-fulfillment, the ability to seek personal growth, and peak experiences. This can be expressed specifically, such as an occupation or parenthood, or through creativity, writing, or making art