What is a self-actualized person

Self-actualization: do what you want

Self-actualization is a noble goal. Who does not dream of dedicating himself to his own wishes, needs, dreams and goals and concentrating entirely on fulfilling them. Unfortunately, reality often gets in the way: other obligations come to the fore, self-realization is overshadowed by external influences and expectations. You should not let these resistances unsettle you in your endeavors - not least in order to remain true to yourself. How self-realization succeeds and why it is less with egoism than with individual responsibility has to do…

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Self-fulfillment: 4 good reasons

The starting point is always the same question: Am I satisfied with my life as it is now? Most people aren't. The guilty party is quickly identified: the circumstances, the others. So they strive for more self-realization and embark on a journey - consisting of Self-discovery, authenticity, mindfulness and flow.

The term self-involvement is - unfortunately - used in a rather inflationary manner. Always and everywhere there is talk that one should please - professionally as well as privately - realize oneself. First of all, there is nothing wrong with that. It ultimately also means justthat one leads a life that one wants to lead - and that completely free of external constraints or influences.

However, self-actualization is also fulfilling not an end in itself - only because the term has a positive connotation. The own identity plays a crucial role in this:

  • Who am I?
  • Who do I want to be?
  • What is important to me
  • How do I want to live?
  • What do I want to achieve?

All of these questions are essentialin order to realize oneself and to be able to lead a fulfilling life.

Those who strive for self-realization should therefore also know their motives and that Why can answer. Anyway: a few good reasons for it is there…

  1. You will be happier.

    Happiness is always individual and depends on dozens of personal factors. But if you don't value yourself and take your needs seriously, you cannot be happy. However, through the process of self-realization you get to know your needs and can create the conditions for your own personal happiness by living your own life according to your own decisions and expectations.

  2. You will achieve YOUR goals.

    Although goals can be achieved without self-realization, the question remains: are these really yours or do you set yourself a goal because someone else expects you to do it? It is not uncommon for study programs or training courses to be started because the environment considers it a good idea. The goal of “master” may be achieved, but you may wish for something completely different yourself. For a self-determined life, you should therefore check what your goals are - and pursue them too. Paul Watzlawick once put it this way: "If you want to find yourself, you shouldn't ask others for directions."

  3. You get to know yourself.

    The Search for your own identity and the individual goals lead to one's own strengths. Anyone who deals intensively with self-realization will therefore always be more aware of their own desires, talents and abilities - and can therefore appear increasingly self-confident.

  4. You develop a profile.

    The process of self-realization is also one Dealing with your own values. These lead to a clear attitude and thus to an individual profile, a personality. Self-actualization also helps to stand out from the crowd - not only in the job.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

It should not be missing in this context - Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The American psychologist has the model Abraham Maslow developed as he dealt with the different levels of human needs. The individual levels of the pyramid build on one another. Or to put it another way: only when the needs of the lower level are satisfied can we devote ourselves to the higher needs.

The three lower levels - basic care, security and social needs - form the so-called Deficit needs. Only when these are satisfied is satisfaction felt, according to Maslow. The two upper levels are under the term Growth needs summarized. This includes individual needs, such as success or recognition and, as the last level, the Self-realization that only becomes relevant when all other needs have been met.

This is what Maslow understood by self-actualization Recognizing and utilizing your own potentialAt the same time, however, he assumed that the needs for growth - including self-realization - can never be completely satisfied and that only two percent of the world's population reach this level on the hierarchy of needs anyway.

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Why is it so difficult for us to realize ourselves?

But if self-realization is so desirable for many, why do so many find it so difficult? Everywhere in everyday life it can be observed that although people decide to finally realize themselves, but fail in the implementation.

The three most common reasons for this:

  • It is a long, rocky road to self-realization. Yet not all people own what science Volition calls - in German: bite or perseverance. It is one of the most important success factors of all. It is the art of showing willpower throughout the course as well as realizing exactly why we want something and what drives us inwardly.
  • As generally positive and desirable as self-actualization is viewed - most people measure it here double standard: We can and should of course realize ourselves, but if someone else does that, it sometimes seems inconsiderate, selfish and stubborn to us. Accordingly, quite a few then bow to social expectations and lapse into conformity in order not to offend or please.
  • In addition, there is our own attitude: from an early age we learn that we should adapt to the environment. After years Conditioning Due to prohibitions and restrictions, it is of course difficult for us to bring our own needs to the fore and enforce them.

So then changes to the felt quality of life admittedly only a little.

Self-Realization: Tips for Implementation

Self-actualization is, however not a final goal or a state, but rather a processthat everyone actively pursues and promotes for themselves.

Or to put it another way: The word “realization” suggests a fixed and unchangeable state that needs to be achieved. In fact, however, self-realization always means permanent at the same time Self-discovery and self-creation.

And this includes numerous Areas of lifethat are influenced by it and vice versa:

So in case you feel like doing this decide to realize yourself, above all, one Answer to the important question after this How? to find.

Self-actualization is not an easy endeavor. It takes sustained motivation as well as the discipline to work on yourself and sometimes a thick skin. Sooner or later you will have to deal with criticism and headwinds. Like you self-actualization - despite adversity and resistance - can succeed, we have summarized in the following recommendations:

  1. Realize what you really want.

    Before you can even think about making it a reality, you must first find out What exactly you really want. Everyone has different potentials, goals and desires. Therefore, be honest with yourself and, above all, listen to yourself. Do not allow yourself to be influenced by external expectations and pressures.

  2. Do what you want.

    Now that you have realized what you want to achieve, it is time to take this path. At first this will probably take some effort, but this is the only way to achieve your goal in the end. Remember your motivation and take the plunge into the deep end.

  3. Stand by your wishes.

    Expect criticism sooner rather than later. Someone will tell you that your goals are not going to be achieved or that you made a mistake. Do not ignore this criticism entirely, but ask yourself whether there is some truth in it. If you've actually made a mistake, it's time to correct it. Because that is also part of self-realization: taking responsibility for your own actions. Only then do you really act independently.

  4. Don't give up too quickly.

    Even if there are setbacks, you shouldn't give up right away. As they say: Rome was not built within one day either. Always remember that self-actualization is not a sprint but a marathon. Everywhere in life there are mistakes and setbacks. Learn from it and stay true to your path.

The dangers of self-actualization

In addition to all the positive effects and advantages of self-realization, it should also be mentioned at this point that this is also possible hazards holds. Most likely this will be through a example clear:

Imagine that you are an avid painter, but because of your full-time job you are only able to pursue your passion infrequently. So make a momentous decision: you will realize yourself and dedicate yourself 100 percent to art.

You can guess what the example is getting at: So you quit your job, deal with painting day in and day out, attend additional workshops, post your pictures on the Internet and make phone calls to find galleries where you can exhibit your works of art. Unfortunately there are no orders. There is no one who would like to present your pictures, nor is there any noteworthy demand on the Internet.

Sooner or later, the savings will no longer be sufficient to finance the art that has no business. In many cases, however, what outweighs the financial burden is that mental pressure: Those who want to realize themselves often make all their happiness dependent on this decision. However, there is always the risk that it will turn out completely different than you imagined and that you fail all along the line with the project.

As described above, you shouldn't give up on every first difficulty. But sometimes it is better not to go on, but to rethink and also to bury a dream - so as not to be a victim of the Concorde effect to become. Because the higher the costs or losses that we have already suffered, the more we sometimes stick to such questionable goals, motto: Now I've put so much into it ... Get Rich - Or Die Tryin ‘!

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5th November 2020Author: Jochen Mai

Jochen Mai is the founder and editor-in-chief of the career bible. The author of several books lectures at the TH Köln and is a sought-after keynote speaker, coach and consultant.

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