We sometimes get to a point in our lives where we question the meaning of our goals, dreams, potential and general life direction.
The meaning of our lives is the basis of leading a fulfilling experience – from our connection with others, our inner being and our place in the world around us, to our simple physiological needs.
Self-actualization is about moving up to the next level and being the best we can be in order to give meaning to our life – something everyone strives to do whether consciously or not.
What Exactly is Self-Actualization?
The concept of self-actualization was coined by the psychologist Abraham Maslow  who studied the theory of human needs. He believed that happiness derives, not from animalistic or mechanical behaviours nor the unconscious impulses we possess, but rather the drive to develop our understanding and wisdom of our full potential and capabilities.
Why We Need to Put Emphasis on Self-Actualization
Maslow believed that everyone is fundamentally hard-wired to self-actualize. Most people are at different stages – some can self-actualize at an early age or others reach the stage later in life but for most of us, we are have a need to better ourselves on a subconscious level throughout our lives.
In other words, it’s our want to grow whether we do this intentionally or unintentionally. We may do this through reading more widely to gain a better understanding of a subject, or simply choosing to see certain things from a different, more positive perspective.
It’s this self-actualization that we need in life to feel fulfilled and feel like we’re growing and developing as a person.
The Characteristics of Self-Actualization
If you’re still not sure how this translates into your own life, there are some characteristics of self-actualization that you can probably identify with. These are:
- Perceiving reality in a skilled way: being able to see what’s happening to you and what’s going on around you with a balanced and accepting approach.
- The ability to accept yourself and others: understanding ourselves in a non-judgemental way as well as those around us.
- Being appreciative of life: appreciating what life is in all its faults and glory – in your own life, others’ lives and even the nature that surrounds you.
- The ability to create deep and meaningful connections: creating relationships that bring meaning and depth; helping us grow and bring further understanding to the essence of connection with others.
- Following guidance from our values and inner goals: that feeling of living your life according to what you feel is right for you; knowing you are on a path that reflects your ultimate goal of happiness and fulfilment.
- The ability to express your emotions in a clear and freeing way: feeling confident and positively aligned with the way you express yourself that benefits you and those around you.
Of course, we aren’t always portraying these characteristics at all times but when we do we feel like we’re in a state of being our best selves. This is why going through states of self-actualization helps us live a meaningful life and leads us to a happier life.
In What Ways Can I Encourage Self Actualization?
Self-actualization may seem hard to do especially when we’re going through hard times or when we’ve picked up negative habits about how we think about ourselves and what’s going on around us.
But there are things you can do that will encourage you to grow and create the mindset of being your best self.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
We all have a tendency to do this but it’s a habit that doesn’t serve us. Understand that we are all on our own unique journey and it doesn’t matter where other people are in comparison to us. Once you make this important realisation you can be free to enjoy your path in life as the adventure it really is. It’s about your own progress not anyone else’s. Self-actualization is understanding that you are looking from a standpoint independent of other people.
Understanding the Power of Your Mindset
You may feel like your bad mood is the cause of other people or external circumstances that you can’t control, but it’s actually how you choose to react to conditions. You have the ability to adjust accordingly because your mindset is incredibly powerful. Choosing to see things for your benefit no matter how negative it may seem will help you self-actualize much more easily.
Learning to Love Yourself
You may have heard this a million times before, but accepting yourself completely is the only way you can be the best version of yourself. This means accepting both your strengths and weaknesses. It’s from this place that you can truly move through the world in an authentic way – it’s about creating peace of mind about yourself and getting rid of this negative version you’ve made up.
Know That the Journey is Never Over
Self-actualizing is knowing that you never really stop growing – you will never reach perfection and that’s okay because that isn’t what life’s about. Life is about continually expanding ourselves, our knowledge and our perspectives. Once you accept this, it will become easier to relax and achieve the happiness you deserve.
So, the journey to self-actualizing is actually the journey to empowerment. It’s about denouncing the negative perspectives we’ve adopted about ourselves and being willing to see things differently. It’s only from this space that we can live a life that has true meaning, fulfilment and being aware of our full potential and capabilities.
Featured photo credit: Unsplash.com via pexels.com
|||^||The Pursuit of Happiness: Abraham Maslow|