The term “self-actualization” was coined by humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow. The term is defined as “the desire to become more and more of what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming.” The goal of being self-actualized is attaining life satisfaction, happiness, serenity and a rich inner feeling of well-being – Becoming the very best possible version of yourself!
While the concept of self-actualization sounds really wonderful, how do you become this attuned, creative spirit with an efficient perception of reality, good moral intuition and high self esteem?
The fact is, there’s no right or wrong way when it comes to personal growth. Each and every one of us will attain self-actualization in our own way and our own time. Each of us will discover what self-actualization means to us by listening to our true self, inner wisdom and living a good and honest life of truth.
What is Maslow self actualization theory?
Maslow created a hierarchy of needs when he theorized that us as humans have four basic needs we need to fully satisfy before we can become self-actualizing people. These needs were arranged onto a pyramid:
- The bottom of the pyramid is the lowest stage – these are are most basic needs as humans.
- The second stage shows us our need for safety.
- The third stage depicts our longing and desire to be be wanted, needed and relationships.
- The fourth stage shows what we need to have a strong self esteem and our need for respect.
- The fifth and final stage, or the tip of the pyramid, is self-actualization.
How do you know if you are self actualized?
Here are 10 signs to know if you are self actualized
- You live independently. Your life is not based and structured on others opinions. Social feedback won’t change your mind either, and peer pressure is a non factor to you. You don’t mind alone
- You have a sense for reality and truth. You’re a grounded individual and you are in touch and in tune with your intuition. You know when people are stretching the truth or being false.
- You are comfortable with the unknown. You might not know what the future will bring, but you’re okay with that.
- You have compassion, kindness, and acceptance.
- You have a good-natured sense of humor. Laughing at yourself is not humiliating and you are able to make light of others challenging situations which helps them feel more at ease. You brighten any space with your light heartedness.
- You enjoy meaningful friendships. You have fewer friendships but they are long lasting and true friends.
- You’re spontaneous You don’t like to stick to routine and prefer to live in the moment!
- You focus on things bigger than yourself. Life is not just about you, you care about everyone else too and want everyone to be equally happy. You want to see the bigger picture and consider more than just your life.
- You stop and smell the roses. You take the time to stop and take note of the small things in life and special moments, no matter how many times you might have seen the sunset, it’s still unique and beautiful every time.
- You have a sense of justice. Your compassion for all helps you uncover truth, allowing injustice to fail and people to have a fair chance.
Self-acceptance and eventually Self-actualization is not the same for everyone. None of us are quite like anyone else and we all take a slightly different path when trying to real our goals as human beings.
Being truly self-actualized is a goal that can take some of us a life time to accomplish, but we need to take the time to reach our full potential and real self-efficacy. Working hard to become the very best you possibly can will ultimately lead to a more fulfilling life, and its human nature to want that fulfillment!
Don’t let the concept of self-actualization overwhelm or stop you attaining your goals. Keep your mind open as you gain a new freshness of appreciation and work through Maslow’s hierarchy of needs on your journey to a higher level!
Something to keep in mind is that even Maslow said felt true self-actualization was rare. How many people do you actually know who live their lives entirely true to themselves?
Self Actualization FAQs
What are the benefits of being self actualized?
Reaching your full highest potential is the biggest benefit, your understanding of others and human nature will be heightened as well as your emotional intelligence rising. You will notice yourself becoming more friendly and caring as well as fair and calm in stressful situations.
What are the characteristics of a self actualized person?
- Perception of reality is efficient
- Happy and comfortable in own skin, acceptance of others and yourself
- Comfortable using own judgment and past experiences as lessons
- Freshness of appreciation.
- Intense personal relationships.
What happens when you reach self actualization?
When you have reached the final stage of development in Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs you are able to fully take advantage of your talents. You reach true self realization, humanitarianism and mindfulness.