The idea of self-actualization comes from the theory of human motivation. In a nutshell, it theorizes how to become the best version of yourself– how to reach your full potential. The most popular theorist of self-actualization is Abraham Maslow. According to Maslow, focusing on achieving our potentials and serving others are the highest needs in his hierarchy of needs.
Maslow believed that first, we must meet our basic needs like safety, food, and water. Then, we work to build social connections and self-esteem. Once we achieve these, we can move on to self-actualization.
Later on, Maslow continued to develop his theory. He included the need to contribute something greater than ourselves, also known as “Selfless Actualization,” “Transcendence,” or “Beyond Self-Actualization” (Greene & Burke 2007)
Steps to Towards Self-Actualization
How can we achieve self-actualization? Some steps we can take to achieve self-actualization are:
To Experience, Cultivate Openness
If we look at the situations, people, and circumstances around us as black or white, we might be missing experiences that can make our lives more meaningful. To move towards self-actualization, it’s beneficial to be more open to various perspectives, different people, and difficult situations. When we open ourselves to looking at things from a different angle, we become more creative and emotionally resilient.
Thinking in black-and-white can lead to missing opportunities to improve, learn, and experience more meaningful things. Self-actualization is about being open to other information and points of view. It’s a way to help us see problems from varying perspectives and with creative approaches. If you want to achieve self-actualization, it may be beneficial to be more open to experiences.
Defining Your Values
Some people may not have their values and goals defined. However, it’s essential to identify your values if you want to become self-actualized. Trying to achieve goals that are against our morals or values may make us feel worse and lead to feelings of unhappiness or unfulfillment.
Think Deeper Than Love and Self-Esteem Needs
Many people think that reaching for self-actualization means landing the dream job, having great success, or finding love. However, those are esteem needs. According to Maslow, we must satisfy esteem needs before we can move on to self-actualization. It may be easier for us to focus on personal growth and altruistic pursuits once we feel loved and respected.
Everybody has varying goals and aspirations. We can begin to feel fulfilled when we discover what we truly want.
Define What You Want To Achieve
Finding meaning and passion in life can be challenging. However, it is one of the keys to self-actualization. Try to explore your goals, hopes, and value system. It may be the first step towards your self-growth and self-actualization journey.
Many of us strive for self-actualization. It is a lifetime pursuit revolving around personal development and giving back. While it takes effort, it is also rewarding. We all have the potential to experience self actualization if we put in the work and effort.
If you are looking for a licensed clinical psychologist in Miami, Fl who can help you on your path towards self-actualization, Dr. Carolina Raeburn, PsyD, may be able to help.
*All the information published in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Any information provided here is offered in generic form. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.