Self actualization. It’s the process of becoming the best possible version of yourself, and it’s what we all want – whether or not we realize it.
The theory of self actualization was proposed by a psychologist named Abraham Maslow , and he believed that people who had achieved it were:
- Completely self-accepting
- Not afraid to take risks and step into the unknown
- Grateful and able to fully enjoy each moment
- Motivated by growth and development
- Capable of deep, meaningful relationships
Sounds pretty good, right? Achieving self actualization requires a lot of hard work and dedication, but it is possible. However, there are a few actions that completely destroy your chances of achieving self actualization. You could be doing everything else right, but if you don’t give up these bad habits then you’ll never be able to reach your full potential.
Are you guilty of any of the self-defeating habits listed below?
Putting others above yourself
You plan a day of relaxation and fun, filled with activities you’re passionate about. Then, you get a phone call. “Can you cover my shift today?” “I know you said you were busy, but I really need a babysitter.” “My boyfriend just broke up with me. Can you come over?”
Someone who respects their own time will think carefully before giving it up for someone else. While it’s great to help others, neglecting your own needs in the process can seriously hinder your journey to self actualization.
If you’re the type of person who just can’t say no to people, ask yourself why. Here are some common reasons to consider:
- You’re afraid people will stop liking you.
- You feel guilty when you do things for yourself.
- You aren’t comfortable being alone.
- You don’t value your own time.
- You prioritise other peoples’ needs over your own.
Making time for yourself is absolutely essential if you want to grow and develop. Don’t be afraid to say no – it doesn’t make you a bad person.
Getting scared and censoring yourself
Self-censorship means stopping yourself from saying what you really mean, and it usually comes from fear. “Is what I’m saying stupid?” “What would my friends/partner/parents think of this?” “I should just keep quiet.”
Fear of criticism plays a big part in self-censorship, but many of us are afraid to be honest even when alone. To overcome this, try writing daily in a notebook that only you will read. Write anything you want, no matter how weird, stupid, or embarrassing. Don’t look back through what you’ve written if you think it will put you off – just keep writing.
Keep up with this practice and you’ll soon find that you’re more able to be honest and open in the rest of your life. Only by allowing our true, uncensored selves to break free can we achieve self actualization.
Giving in to the pressure to fit in
Self-actualization is not about fitting in or being accepted by others. The true version of you might not be liked by everyone, and that’s okay. Trying too hard to fit in can destroy what makes you unique, and make you feel fake and unhappy.
Stay true to yourself no matter what other people say by following these tips:
- Be clear on your values.
- Always think before you act. If you have a bad feeling about something, don’t do it.
- Don’t give up on your dreams because somebody else doesn’t believe they’ll work out.
- Surround yourself with supportive people who encourage you.
- Forget trying to make other people like you. Don’t change who you are just to please someone else.
The journey to self actualization isn’t easy, but it is worth it. Avoid self-sabotage by staying true to yourself, making your needs a priority and letting go of fear.
|Huffington Post: Maslow: The 12 Characteristics of a Self-Actualized Person