self-actualization

Our needs

We are beings of necessities. Necessities for existence, survival, growth, satisfaction, and sustenance.

We have both physiological and emotional needs to be fulfilled.

And is often these unfulfilled needs that lead to psychological disorders and complexities.

Image by John Hain

What is self-actualization?

Despite being very important and unavoidable, necessities are after all necessities, not goals.

We eat to live but we don’t live to eat, I hope you’re not an exception to questioning this. But we all want something from our lives and those who get to know what are the ones who taste self-actualization.

A cause and purpose you live for, you strive to achieve, you understand your role in making it happen.

So much so that it becomes a need, and you try to understand and put to use the best version of you. Trying to reach your full potential.

the psychological process aimed at maximizing the use of a person’s abilities and resources. This process may vary from one person to another

Couture et al., 2007

Goldstein defined self-actualization as a driving life force that will ultimately lead to maximizing one’s abilities and determine the path of one’s life. He defined it as one’s realization of his true abilities.

Self-actualization is a driving life force that will ultimately lead to maximizing one’s abilities and determine the path of one’s life

Kurt Goldstein

Carl Rogers acknowledged the contribution of the environment in the making of a personality. That a man strives to reach his full potential or self-actualization provided the environment to facilitate favorable conditions.

Rogers believed that being self-actualized was the basic motive of a human being, that is to reach the pinnacle of humanity.

The organism has one basic tendency and striving – to actualize, maintain, and enhance the experiencing organism

Rogers, 1951, p. 487

Self-actualization of Maslow

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We do have needs, undeniably obvious, Abraham Maslow proposed that needs have a hierarchy. They have a sequence in which they must be fulfilled.

Like, unless the basic most needs are fulfilled, the second on the list awaits. It is represented in a pyramid form with the most necessary physiological ones at the base.

The self-actualization of Maslow is placed at the top of the pyramid, which is addressed when all the other needs are fulfilled.

Self-actualization of Maslow remains at the top because of the thought that a person couldn’t focus on a higher purpose of life unless he has less to worry about the other needs down the pyramid.

maslow's self actualization

Should Self-Actualization be at the top of the pyramid of needs?

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs couldn’t be proved though, despite being a good presentation of the stages of levels of priority one could give to needs. But it’s not necessary that they are fulfilled in the same order as mentioned by Maslow.

But I don’t think that Maslow is the one who should get discredited for that because it wasn’t him who made the pyramid after all. Even Maslow was more inclined towards the fact that self-actualized people are motivated by health, growth, wholeness, integration and more such humanitarian purposes rather than a rigid hierarchy of needs.

Hence the Self-actualization of Maslow doesn’t have to be the least prior thing as we find people for whom their cause has been prior to other needs in life. And that’s why they sacrifice and strive to achieve that self-actualization even at the price of other needs.

Signs of People with Self Actualization

  1. They are realistic. They don’t live in the world of fantasy
  2. They are not apprehended by mysteries. They accept ambiguous ideas.
  3. They are less artificial as they acknowledge and embrace their flaws.
  4. They are problem-centered.
  5. They have a strong sense of ethics, they are helpful.
  6. They are least bothered about other’s contempt and are independent of what others might think.
  7. They enjoy the procedure, not just the outcome.
  8. They love solitude and don’t like intervention in their privacy.
  9. They are energetic and motivated.
  10. They are capable of building sustainable relationships. Though with few selected ones but have affection towards all.
  11. They are less influenced by societal culture and are driven by a greater cause in their lives.
  12. They are capable of expressing their emotions and ideas with ease.
  13. They are spontaneous, not confined to social norms.
  14. They make sure that what’s different in them shouldn’t annoy others.
  15. They value things and opportunities. They are grateful and humble.
Greed is gross
Image by C.W.Russel

How to get on the top of the pyramid?

Self-Actualization

Our brain is hard-wired for survival, and it’s busy fulfilling our needs according to the priority it gives to the needs. But to be on the top of the pyramid of the needs you need to be independent of the needs.

It’s not that complicated though if you know what I mean. I mean to keep the needs to the level of needs and not to give them the privilege of motive, goal, and ambition.

We must eat to live not live to eat, the same goes for all other needs. But our lives need to have a purpose, which would soothe our spiritual being, our inner human being. Something lot more noble than the fulfillment of needs and desires. Something beyond greed.

Because if not you cannot be there, on the top. If you strive for fulfillment and moreover attaining more resources of the fulfillment of needs then you’ll get greedy, inhuman, unethical and your spirituality will be ruined.

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