There are many books today written about discovering yourself, understanding yourself, among other self-development books, courses, and materials out there. Why is that so? Is self-actualization such a big deal? Do I need to realize myself or what? Well, if you are not curious to know, I am. How about we find out the what, how and why of self-actualization together.
Abraham Maslow defined self-actualization by stating that “What a man can be, he must be.” Maslow described self-actualization, as the desire and not the driving force, that could lead to realizing one’s capabilities. In other words, self-actualization does not determine a person’s life. Simply put, self-actualization is the realization of a person’s full potential and one’s true self.” You utilize this by exploring yourself and your abilities to reach your full potential.
Self-actualization is an individual process. At the end of the day, realizing one’s potential is a personal endeavor that depends on where one’s creative, intellectual or social potential lies. Self-actualization is not about making the most money or becoming famous in the world. Instead, it is about reaching your personal potential, whether that means becoming a painter, a writer, a musician, a business person, a politician, a doctor, a teacher, a minister or what not. It is truly about understanding yourself, tapping into your inner abilities and achieving your dreams through your realized potentials.
Albert Ellis found that self-actualization involves the pursuit of excellence and enjoyment. This pursuit of excellence and enjoyment towards the realization of your potentials is also related to your wellbeing. In other words, the pursuit of realization of your full potentials directly and positively affects your wellbeing or health. This makes self-actualization relevant in living a holistic lifestyle.
Therefore, self-actualization serves both as a medium for nurturing the genius in you as you work on yourself to realize those potentials you have and also as a component of wellbeing through the pursuit of excellence and enjoyment which in turn also enables you to realize your full potential. Through self-actualization, you are able to find meaning to life. Self-actualization is a continual process of becoming rather than a perfect state one reaches of a happy ever after.
Self-actualization personally changed my life, it has shaped the way I see life and has impacted my perception about my faith in God, my relationship with myself and others as well. Oh yes, in case you didn’t get that, “my relationship with myself.” You see self-actualization is about you, meaning the focus is on you first before anything else. You are here on earth not to be like any other person but to be you, the world can only be impacted by your presence when you express you.
Self-actualization helps you realize the you in you and enables you to bless your world with your genius. My faith teaches me to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteous…, interestingly that kingdom is in me and I am the righteousness of God, so the more I understand me the more I get to know and understand my place in the grand scheme of things that pertains my life. So, get to work on realizing yourself so you don’t remain a stranger to your own person.
Here are some few characteristics of people that are pursuing self-actualization:
- They perceive reality efficiently and can tolerate uncertainty
- They accept themselves and others for what they are
- They are spontaneous in thought and actions
- They are problem-centered and not self-centered; meaning they focus on solving their problems rather than complain about the problem or what it does to them
- They don’t go with the flow but they rather paddle towards what is best
- They have an unusual sense of humor
- They are highly creative
- They are concerned about the wellbeing of others and humanity
- They are capable of deep and sincere appreciation of basic life-experiences
- They have a great need for privacy
- They have a democratic attitude about everything
- They have strong moral or ethical standards