What Does Self Actualization Really Mean?

How can self actualization be achieved?

Anyone who is familiar with Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has probably heard of the concept of self actualization. Self actualization, in Maslow’s view, is what every person should aspire and is the pinnacle of human need. Consider the following characteristics of self actualization and the means for achieving it–

Characteristics of Self Actualization

Achieving self actualization is the ultimate goal in life. Maslow explains that self-actualization is characterized by:

  • Complete self acceptance, including acceptance of flaws and imperfections;
  • Recognition of the value of the journey of life, not just the destination;
  • Embrace of the unknown;
  • Life purpose;
  • Motivated by self growth;
  • Gratitude for life, including its challenges;
  • Humility; and
  • Deep relationships with few people while also feeling connected to the world and human race as a whole.

How to Reach Self Actualization

Self actualization is not reachable until all other needs are satisfied. These include: physiological needs (food, water, shelter, sex), safety, belonging, love, esteem (sense of achievement and acceptance). It is your responsibility to ensure that each of your needs are satisfied, and to recognize that you cannot achieve self actualization until you feel satisfied and accomplished; you cannot feel accomplished until you have formed intimate relationships and met your psychological needs; and you cannot meet your psychological needs until your physiological needs are met.

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