Self-Actualization

Hello, again! For today’s blog, we’ll be talking about a… somewhat controversial and confusing topic. 

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has been in every introductory-level psychology course that I’ve ever had the opportunity to be in. If you are unfamiliar with this diagram, it essentially states that several different levels of differing needs must be met prior to moving up in the diagram. A picture of Maslow’s hierarchy is depicted below: 

According to Maslow’s hierarchy, several needs must be met. Starting from the bottom-up, we begin with physiological needs, safety needs, a sense of feeling loved and belonging, understanding esteem, and eventually, self-actualization. Following a quick peruse of the internet, it has come to my attention that apparently there have been several individuals who have achieved this concept of self-actualization. This must be cap… Or in other words, just a false statement. How is it that so many individuals have achieved this state of fully understanding yourself to the point that you are able to recognize your potential, followed by acting and following through in congruence to yourself. Does this not dismiss the concept of privilege? How privileged must you be to be self-actualized?

Self-actualization refers to the state of achieving your full potential. Something that sticks out to me revolves around an argument that I had with a friend. They said,

“Why does this even matter? Just continue doing the things that you like to do and don’t worry about it. If back in the day cavemen did not think about self-actualization and had their needs met, doesn’t that mean that they’ve self-actualized?” 

Hmm… If you are a caveperson and haven’t thought of this concept before, are you truly self-actualized? Or, can this be interpreted as, are we at a point of evolution where we do not have the capacity to truly self-actualize? And if we are, I feel that because I am able to even have this conversation with myself, am I doing myself a disservice if I don’t at least try? What does that mean about me? However, once again, having the opportunity to even try comes from a privileged point of view. All prior needs must be met before you can even entertain the idea of self-actualizing, and if it’s something that I’m even thinking about, how can I not try? 

To try or not to try (Wow, how poetic of me)? Who knows… Just something to think about. 


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