Self Actualization

self actualization

The term self actualization was originally coined by Abraham Maslow, in reference to the group of needs that comprise the  pinnacle of his hierarchy of needs pyramid.

At the bottom of Maslow’s pyramid are the very basic physiological needs of breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis, excretion.  From there it moves up to  needs concerning safety, which include; security of body, of employment, of resources, safety of  morality, of the family, of health and property. Next is the level of Love and Belonging; friendship, family, sexual intimacy. In second position from the top, is Esteem, which includes, self esteem, confidence, achievement, respect of others and respect by others, and then, at the very top, is self actualization, which according to Maslow encompasses; morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice, and acceptance of facts.

Under this model, Maslow defined self actualization as “the desire for self fulfillment, namely the tendency for the individual to become actualized in what is his potentiality.”

Is Self Actualization The Same Thing As Enlightenment And Awakening?

While many teachers and philosophers would likely find fault with using these terms interchangeably, on this website, in my writings,  I tend to use these terms interchangeably, as fundamentally they all have one result and that is, freedom to simply BE all that you have the potential to be, absent the baggage of belief that causes a contraction of consciousness.   

Traits of the Self Actualized Human Being

  • Abundant joy, a general  sense of easy peacefulness that pervades day to day, moment to moment experience
  • A sense of ongoing appreciation for all facets of life/existence
  • An awareness of your personal values and an ability to remain integral to them, without undue effort or contrivances of mind
  • An ability to see humor in almost anything, and the ability and wisdom to know when to take things seriously and when to lighten up
  • A handful of strong, deep, meaningful relationships with others who are dear to you
  • A strong desire to create and to be creative,  that flows unimpeded
  • An enjoyment for solitude and the self love, self respect to honor that when necessary
  • Strongly independent and autonomous without shutting yourself off from others
  • Self trust – An inner knowing of being handle whatever life dishes out
  • An ability to suspend judgment, to allow and accept others to be as they are without a sense of needing them to change to better suit your preferences
  • An ability to love others, even  in the midst of not particularly liking their actions and behaviors.



The Actualized Self And Self Esteem

self esteem


The actualization of self  hinges upon the realization that limitations only exist in mind. The  actualized, fully self realized human being understands what it means to love and respect self. Thus, is could be said that self actualization and self esteem go hand in hand. To actualize self is to know self to be inherently loveable.

Self realization and actualization removes the false beliefs that hold one back from attaining their full potential as a physical and spiritual being. Thus, the actualized, or realized  self is free of the baggage that so often holds people back from expressing authentically, absent judgments and prejudices that would otherwise obscure.

A self actualized person is clear on his/her values and subsequent morals, and maintains a level of integrity to those values, effortlessly and without apology. A deep understanding and acceptance of self in all its facets accompanies self actualization, as does an ability to express and act in the world, with spontaneity and authenticity.

Actualization is akin to opening a previously closed water valve. Where previously, tiny drips and drops of creativity, clarity and self understanding may have made their way through the mire and muck, now cool, clear inspiration freely flows through. The result is the expression of unbridled creativity.

To be self actualized is to be free to be and express as a spiritual being, having a temporary physical experience. To be self actualized is to be at one with the totality of existence. ctualization  means living up to your highest aspirations  and expressing in confident self love.

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