In this blog post, we are going to explore self-actualization and its importance in greater depth. So, keep reading, as you might find some nuggets of wisdom to turn your life around.
HIERARCHY OF NEEDS
Abraham Maslow, a.k.a; the father of positive psychology, introduced the hierarchy of needs in his paper “A theory of human motivation.” The hierarchy of needs is a five-tier model that explains how human needs begin, grow and expand.
The first four of these are the deficiency needs (in the five-tier model). These include physiological or biological needs like food, air, sex, and sleep. Then comes our need to be safe and protected; after that comes love, a sense of belonging, and the need for self-esteem.
The most fascinating aspect of Maslow’s work is what is after the deficiency needs , these are called the growth needs. This is what Maslow referred to as — self-actualization, which is our topic of discussion for today.
WHAT DOES SELF ACTUALIZATION MEAN?
The need for self-actualization refers to your desire to grow as an individual and reach your highest potential.
The words “growth” and “highest potential” can appear to be a little broad and vague. They can mean different things to different people.
Well, that’s the interesting catch in the concept of self-actualization.
No universal actualization definition could satisfy each of us and encompass what everyone seeks from their life experience. Therefore, each person gets to decide the real meaning of self-actualization for them. But whatever it is, it certainly requires some degree of growth and elevation from the person you were in the past.
3 SELF ACTUALIZATION EXAMPLES:
- Realizing your ultimate goals in life.These goals can be personal or professional, or a mix of both.
- Cultivating peace and serenity in your life.For many, a pressing desire is to create a life where they can find peace of mind and stillness in everyday moments.
- Experiencing moments of intense positive emotions.Some people call these the peak experiences (because your emotions literally “peak” or “surge” when you go through these moments).
THE 5 BENEFITS OF SELF-ACTUALIZATION
DEVELOPMENT OF SELF-AWARENESS
When you become a self-actualized person, or even if you are on the road to becoming one, you will have numerous encounters with your thoughts, feelings, perceptions and beliefs time and time again.
When you have vivid encounters with your inner world, you naturally start digging deeper into the layers of your conscious and subconscious mind. This endeavor makes you a highly self-aware individual (one who has an insight into his own behaviors, personality and individuality).
Being self-aware helps you in more ways than you can think of. Here are just a few to indulge your curiosity a little.
- It gives you the power to regulate your emotions.
- Your decision-making skills improve.
- You become more confident in yourself.
- Higher levels of fulfillment and happiness
- Better and stronger relationships with other people
- Higher job satisfaction and feeling content with the work you do
- You naturally develop leadership skills when you are self-aware (because very few people have this gift, so of course, you are bound to stand out from the rest!)
A SENSE OF PURPOSE
Self-actualization makes you more goal-oriented. Rather than getting distracted by the outside noise, you willingly (as a self-actualized person) dedicate yourself to finding meaningful goals and then redirecting all your energies toward achieving them.
In the case of identifying your goals, a vision board can be of great help. It would help you build clarity for what you want to achieve in every area of your life — e.g., health, career, relationships etc.
Once you have gained that clarity, you can more easily start strategizing on accomplishing those goals. Vision Cloud’s Vision Board Magazine Kit is an all-in-one power tool to help you set goals. With this ready-to-use vision kit, you can choose the perfect images and words to create a picture of your life goals. After setting up the vision board with your fun pictures and affirmations of your choice, you can use it to visualize and reflect on your future vision daily.
Another great thing about self-actualization is that it teaches you the art of self-acceptance. This means embracing yourself just the way you are with all your qualities and flaws.
Everyone has been gifted with a fair share of good and bad. The people who are not self-actualized spend their time thinking and obsessing over what they don’t have. This mentality eventually leads them to become a victim of their circumstances.
On the other hand, the actualized folks accept and even love themselves the way they are. They tend to fix their weaknesses (if possible) and massively double down on their strengths and unique talents.
FREEDOM FROM EXTERNAL VALIDATION
Since self-actualized people are aware of their core and are well familiarized with their strengths and weaknesses; therefore, they don’t seek validation from others.
Self-actualization rewards you with a sense of independence in your life. Most of us seem to walk on eggshells all our lives because we either fear disappointing the ones we care for, or we are scared to lose our (hard-earned) position and respect in other people's eyes.
The need for outside validation is a vicious loop. It's quicksand.
Before you know it, you are stuck. Down and deep.
But when you know who you really are and are not even afraid to embrace it, what do you got to lose if others don’t approve of you? NOTHING.
That’s the liberating power of self-actualization!
ABILITY TO ENJOY YOUR OWN COMPANY
Solitude is golden. It teaches you so many things about yourself, clears and realigns your perspective on life, and gives you the freedom to chase your wildest dreams.
You will often find that self-actualized people cherish their alone time so much. They develop the ability to be happy and content in their own company. In these moments of solitude, they find the chance to improve their focus, build on their creative inclinations and ponder where they are and want to go.
Ask yourself — do you enjoy your own company and cherish the solitude? Do you give your mind the time to reflect on yourself for a few moments?
These questions can help you assess where you are on your journey to self-actualization. Even if you are just starting, you should be excited about what’s to come because it will be an emotionally rewarding experience for sure.