Important questions for all human kinds, if you were being asked when do you feel most like yourself, how would you answer that? Is it when you finally get to pursue the higher degree that you wanted to, when you are establishing your own brand in the market, when you are spending time with your loved one, or it might just be when you are singing in your bathroom? There is neither a correct answer nor a scripted one for it, where everyone had their own way of living, and all of those answers are certainly a valid one. When we are talking about self-actualization, first thing that comes into mind is probably that triangle figure proposed by Abraham Maslow called the ‘Hierarchy of Needs’, where it could be seen at the top of the triangle that is basically self-explanatory saying self-actualization can only be achieved after you address all the fundamental needs including survival, safety, love, and also self-esteem.
There are life baggages that people just couldn’t seem to let go, such as guilt and insecurity.
First of all, what does self-actualization actually means? According to Maslow (1962), it is described as a complete realization of an individual’s own potential that involves the development of peak experience and appreciation towards life. Putting it into simpler terms, basically it is trying to call out the moment where you think you could be true to yourself, enjoy what you are doing, and love your life as the way it is. Sounds easy, right? But in reality not everyone could think that way, instead there are life baggages that people just couldn’t seem to let go, such as guilt and insecurity. Of course, people are not to be blamed on it, as we all know life could be hard sometimes and we often find ourselves in a vulnerable state in face of relentless adversities. As opposed to what is proposed by Maslow, some other theorists view self-actualization as a life-long assignment, but not an end-goal of life that could only happen at a later stage when you successfully build your own family and career, of course it is just an example. And instead everyone at any given moment is capable enough to seek for their own potential and indulge in personal growth.
Nevertheless, people always like to say, ‘just be yourself’, when we don’t even know who we really are on the inside. I would just say it is okay to not knowing the answer, to be honest how could someone really know what are they like when this is everyone’s first time living in this world, unless you have the memories of your past life. What we need to know about self-actualization is to learn the meaning of ‘being’, accepting everything inside us, including flaws and weaknesses, and not about trying to become who we are not. We don’t need to think of it as something that only great beings like Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King could achieve, it is just a practice for everyone to stay in touch with their inner child, the one who wants to try everything and appreciate small things in life.
Actualize yourself in your own way by experimenting on anything that you thought you might love doing, like a young child.
How do we know when we achieve self-actualization? It is when we don’t need to put in effort to remind ourselves to be happy, being able to find ourselves in gratitude for every small things that happen, learn to give love and accept love from someone else, and most importantly, being comfortable living in our own skin. It doesn’t take us to be recognized by other people like a celebrity to be called a self-actualized person, we are the one that should recognize ourselves as a person of worth, and a person who has so much potential to give to the world in our own way. It is definitely not an easy process, but who knows, maybe the next morning you will find yourself a step closer to it and feeling great.
That being said, starting from today you should tell yourself, better if you write in a note and keep it somewhere prominent, that you are awesome in the way you are. A quote by Brian Johnson, a British singer from the band AC/DC, that tells ‘self-actualization is the oxygen for the soul.’ Actualize yourself in your own way by experimenting on anything that you thought you might love doing like a young child, make it into a practice that you’ll do every day, as it is more important than you think it is.
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