The achievement of one’s full potential through creativity, independence, spontaneity, and a grasp of the real world.
“Self-actualization” represents a concept derived from humanistic psychological theory and, specifically, from the theory created by Abraham Maslow (Olson, 2013).
Sweet so what that means to us common folk is all we have to do is get creative, get independent become spontaneous and gain a halfway educated view of our environment (the world around us). Suddenly this simple list seems a little more daunting than at first glance. Perhaps it’s not the concepts we are discussing rather than how we view these independent concepts.
Creativity, hmmm… Maybe we like to write but would never start a blog or aspire to write a book. Perhaps writing isn’t us and designing video games is. The point is creativity can be as simple as working with watercolors or brewing beer or even building a world in Minecraft. Independence of addictions, neediness with others and a presence to the moment would be a logical next step. Spontaneous? You got it. Right here and right now! We don’t have to throw our routines to the wind when we want to integrate something random as it could be as simple as wearing crazy socks (most people don’t notice or care anyway) but it feels GREAT! Honestly people, very few others even think or care much about the human being next to them enough to put more thought into another person’s socks other than to think “oh, neat. Anyway…”
I know this because it’s not hard to get lost in the wind and forgotten about when it really mattered the most among the many other leaves blowing along with you, even though you were promised that would never happen.
Shit happens, people. Get over yourselves. I did.
But how do we grasp the real world and what does that even mean? We’re living in the real world aren’t we so how would it be possible we do not possess a present state of mind? Easy, we unconsciously fall into “ME” mentality. We put our own wants and desires before those of others. We let our ignorance take the place of understanding out-groups and even social congruence.
“I don’t know what I don’t know and even worse, I don’t even know I don’t know it.”
Abraham Maslow theorizes self-actualizing individuals are able to resolve dichotomies such as that reflected in the ultimate contrary of free-will and determinism. He also contends that self-actualizers are highly creative, psychologically robust individuals. It is argued herein that a dialectical transcendence of ascension toward self-actualization better describes this type of self-actualization, and even the mentally ill, whose psychopathology correlates with creativity, have the capacity to self-actualize (Olson, 2013).
As someone who is for all intents and purposes to be considered “mentally handicapped or mentally ill,” I’d like to point out I think I can self-actualize under the proper conditions and when stimuli are present. Lets just say my engine and transmission are running strong once again and we’re re-learning how to properly steer this fucker. You do not want my problems.
Maslow’s hierarchy is described as follows:
Physiological needs, such as needs for food, sleep and air.
Safety, or the needs for security and protection, especially those that emerge from social or political instability.
Belonging and love including, the needs of deficiency and selfish taking instead of giving, and unselfish love that is based upon growth rather than deficiency.
Needs for self-esteem, self-respect, and healthy, positive feelings derived from admiration.
And “being” needs concerning creative self-growth, engendered from fulfillment of potential and meaning in life.
Carl Rogers, a psychologist who founded the Humanistic Approach went one step further to imply a merge between the ideal self and true self to achieve an ideal functioning person.
In martial arts we sometimes refer to this as hara / t’an t’ien and when reciting complex moves from memory it becomes easier when our mind, body and spirit feel both congruent and centered. Diet, rest and meditation often play strong roles. The movements in martial arts require us to be in touch with the abilities and limitations of our bodies. Without sleep and food our chances of performing effective self defense are greatly reduced. If we practice martial arts and in time achieve higher level of competence, we achieve self-respect and belonging. We learn what it is to achieve on different levels. We open ourselves to self-actualization.
Sensei Marcus Trout, my martial arts instructor taught me this.
- What are some of the ways you achieve self-actualization?
- Do you feel congruence with others is more important than achieving validation from them?
- Finally, think about a time when you felt “all of your stars were aligned?” Was it after you won a championship? Finished difficult education goals? Maybe it was in your twenties and you just signed a purchase contract shortly after getting a huge promotion. What did that feel like?
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Encyclopedia Britannica. (2019). Self-actualization | psychology. [online] Available at: https://www.britannica.com/science/self-actualization [Accessed 16 Jul. 2019].
Mcleod, S. (2019). Carl Rogers | Simply Psychology. [online] Simplypsychology.org. Available at: https://www.simplypsychology.org/carl-rogers.html [Accessed 16 Jul. 2019].
Psychology Today. (2019). The Theory of Self-Actualization. Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/theory-and-psychopathology/201308/the-theory-self-actualization [Accessed 16 Jul. 2019].
wiseGEEK. (2019). What is Tan Tien? (with pictures). Available at: https://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-tan-tien.htm [Accessed 16 Jul. 2019].
Your Article Library. (2019). The Differences between In-Group & Out-group Sociology. [online] Available at: https://www.yourarticlelibrary.com/difference/the-differences-between-in-group-out-group-sociology/6211 [Accessed 16 Jul. 2019].