Everyone wants to become the best version of themselves. This persistent desire to use your abilities and talent to achieve your true potential is termed self-actualization. Abraham Maslow put forward the concept of self-actualization in his hierarchy of needs theory. The theory explored human needs as a pyramid of four levels. Self-actualization occupied the top level in theory.
Maslow thought of self-actualized people as ones who constantly push their limits, work towards bringing out the best in themselves, and strive for excellence and creativity in everything they do.
While the desire to do good and be better is present in all individuals, there are a lot of things that set self-actualized people apart. Let us dive deeper into seven such characteristics of self-actualized people.
Unique Characteristics Of Self-Actualized People
1. They are true to their values.
A self-actualized person clearly understands their values, and they choose to stand by them even in the face of difficult situations. They have a clear idea of who they are as people, and their thoughts and actions are consistent with their values. They hold their beliefs in the highest regard. Such individuals are not afraid of standing against the world in order to stand by what they believe in.
2. They acknowledge other people’s feelings.
Self-actualized individuals do not just have a clear understanding of their own thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. They acknowledge the fact that other people can have conflicting feelings and beliefs too. And while they might not understand or agree with those feelings, they always accept their existence.
3. They always focus on the solutions rather than the problems.
Self-actualized people focus on finding solutions to problems rather than complaining about the countless number of problems they have. They believe in helping themselves, and other people find a way to achieve their goals. They are often motivated by a deep sense of purpose in life.
4. They embrace changes.
While most people are scared of things they don’t know about, self-actualized people are fascinated with the unknown. They understand the concept of constant change. They are well aware that one needs to push their boundaries and get out of their comfort zones to reach their highest potential. They are ready to explore unchartered territories and find answers to achieve this potential.
5. They seek to make a positive difference in the world.
At the very core of the purpose that motivates a self-actualized person is their desire to impact the world positively. This desire to assist and help others is not motivated by selfish motives. All they want is to leave the world as a better place than they found it in.
6. They are confident and self-aware at the same.
Most people are too over in their heads to realize their shortcomings, while others are too deep in self-doubt to recognize their strengths. A self-actualized individual is the perfect blend of the two. They are confident about their strengths while having a proper understanding of their weaknesses too. They don’t let their success or failure define their perspective about themselves. Instead, they are defined by their hard work and the intent with which they pursue each opportunity.
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7. They live in reality.
Self-actualized people have the habit of being practical and realistic in life. Even in the face of problematic situations, they are able to develop a logical and rational perspective of their life. They understand that in order to reach the pinnacle of growth, one needs to get through the hard road. Their willingness to accept and make sense of the problems that come their way sets them apart from the rest of the world.
How to reach the stage of self-actualization?
Attaining self-actualization is tough. Tougher than enrolling in an online certification program or attending a weekend course. And like most things in this modernized world, it would be great if we could get it easily or quickly somehow. But sadly, we can’t.
As the age-old saying says, it’s not really about the destination; it is mainly about the journey. Similarly, self-actualization is not about hitting milestones in life or achieving your goals. It is, in fact, a process. It is a process of becoming who you are in terms of awareness, satisfaction, and fulfillment. And while it might sound easy, there are only a few people in the world who could have been thought to have reached true self-actualization.
But the good thing is, it is never too late. You can start this lifelong process right away through these small but meaningful steps today.
1. Understand yourself properly.
On most occasions, it is challenging to step outside your life and look at yourself and your life from a third-person perspective. But in order to move toward self-actualization, you need to gain clarity of who you are as a person. This can help you create a portrait of yourself equipped with information regarding your strengths, weaknesses, motivations, and desires.
2. Learn acceptance.
Another way to begin the journey of self-actualization is to become more accepting of the surroundings and people around you. It is easy to get annoyed and irritated with these things and desperately try to fix them to suit your narratives and perspectives. But, looking at others through kindness and rationalizing situations rather than questioning them is much more rewarding and important.
3. Look for new opportunities with an open mindset.
A key aspect of self-actualized individuals is their ability to look at the world through fresh perspectives and present new ideas. They approach every day with an open mindset. When you begin to imbibe this openness in your mindset, you will be able to make better sense of the world as well as yourself.
Self-actualization is the highest need of humans according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory. It is the desire to improve and achieve one’s highest potential constantly. Self-actualized individuals are different from others because they are realistic, solution-driven, true to their values, and seek to make a positive difference in the world through their actions. And while it is an arduous and tough lifelong journey, you can take several important steps to get started right away.
A key step in reaching true self-actualization is to become self-aware and clearly understand who you are as a person.