Major Aspects of Self-Actualization

As kids we have a number of dreams about what we want to become when we grow up. As we do (grow up) those dreams change and modify themselves into something concrete. Slowly we come to terms with the reality and the unrealistic ones gets dropped off from our arsenal and the realistic ones becomes the point of our focus.

Some we are able to achieve and some not. Wheras self concept is about trying to become the person you want to be, self actualization is about trying to come to terms with the person you are now. This is the key to understand where you stand in life currently and where you want to be.

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Knowing who you are is crucial for you to improve and grow so that you are able to achieve those goals you have set for yourself.

Five Stages to Self-Actualization

As per Abraham Maslow, the humanist psychologist, there are five needs that a human being require fulfilling  in their lifetime. Only after fulfilling and being content with the first four stages can a person move onto self-actualization. The five stages of basic human needs are:

  • 1. Physical needs, like water, food, etc.
  • 2. Survival and safety (both emotional and physical), shelter
  • 3. Love and a sense of belonging
  • 4. Self-esteem
  • 5. Self-actualization

The idea is simple, only when a person gets daily food do they look for shelter. Only when a person has a steady supply of food and a stable shelter, do they look for family and friends. Only when these three things are in place, they look to enhance their self esteem and only when all these are achieved, they look within themself and achieve the step of self actualization.

Often due to unforeseen circumstances where a need is not met and had to be fulfilled again a person has to step back and after achieving that they can advance again. Till a level is fulfilled that person gets stuck at that stage.

The Four Aspects of Self Actualization

As per Susyn Reeve, the author of “The Inspired Life: Unleashing Your Mind’s Capacity for Joy”, there are four aspects of self-actualization, and they are as follows:

  • “Being all you can be.”
  • “Living to your full potential.”
  • “Honoring and valuing your gifts, talents, and skills, and generously sharing them in service of the highest good for all: a more peaceful, loving, and compassionate world.”
  • “Living a life of passion and purpose.”

Let us look into the details of each aspect

  • “Being all you can be”: basically, you need to know who you are and exactly what you are capable of achieving. Once you now these details about yourself you will know what to do and how to do it to become the person that you can become.
  • “Living to your full potential”: Again a similar concept as above, this is the idea of realizing your full potential and utilizing that in your life. Many individuals have several traits and talents that can make them shine in the world, but they stay hidden. You need to dig deep and bring these out.
  • “Honoring and valuing your gifts, talents, and skills, and generously sharing them in service of the highest good for all: a more peaceful, loving, and compassionate world”: Staying positive and appreciating what you have is a crucial step towards sharing your joy in the world. You do good when you feel good.
  • “Living a life of passion and purpose”: A dull life with day-to-day struggle is not for you. Focus on your purpose in life and set out your way accordingly. Be passionate about everything you do. Without passion, every little task becomes drab and lacklustre. If you are not enthusiastic about your work, no one will.

Six Tips Toward Self-Actualization

Susyn Reeve, the author of “The Inspired Life: Unleashing Your Mind’s Capacity for Joy”, gives us 6 pieces of advice in her book to achieve self-actualization.

  • “Answer this question: If I wasn’t afraid and I knew I could not fail, who would I be and what would I be doing? This defines your self-actualized vision. Then the question becomes: To live into this vision, what are the thoughts I think, the words I speak and the actions I take?”
  • Love yourself. Your self-esteem is the stepping stone towards self-actualization. So make sure that your self-esteem is always at its highest.
  • Know yourself and value your unique talents, traits and qualities.
  • Be brave. Do not hesitate to follow your heart’s lead.  
  • Failures are a key to success. Use these to learn about yourself and your path to support your vision.
  • Get a clear understanding of the creative process of your brain and have a group of friends or loved ones as your “vision keepers” who will support you to sustain your vision.

Few Characteristics of Self-Actualized People

  • They respect others and accept people as they are. They engage in self-acceptance.
  • They had taken lessons from the experiences of their life to become who they are.
  • They are responsible.
  • They are problem solvers.
  • They are logical and realistic.
  • They are always positive.
  • They enjoy life’s journey.
  • They enjoy success.
  • They are comfortable with solitude and enjoy spending time with their own self as well as others.
  • They use their “me” time to reinvent their own self.
  • They are mostly autonomous and tend to follow their own paths.
  • They are spontaneous. Rules do not bind them although they follow the general ones.
  • They have an extremely good sense of humour.

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