“Self-actualization” (SA) is a term coined by psychologist Dr. Abraham Maslow that describes the pinnacle in the hierarchy of human needs. Individuals have one basic motivational drive, to become self-actualized (reach full potential and capabilities). SA is used today for personal development, management training and for understanding motivation.
When basic lower order “deficiency needs” are met (physiological, safety, belongingness, esteem), individuals reach for higher order “being or growth needs” (personal potential, growth, self-fulfillment, peak experiences). Most people’s motivational set includes characteristics of all levels of motivational drivers. Individuals who have reached self-actualization are spontaneous, creative, inventive, seek peak experiences, have a nonhostile sense of humor, are socially compassionate, and accepting of self and others.
“A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be. This is the need we may call self-actualization…It refers to man’s desire for fulfillment, namely to the tendency for him to become actually in what he is potentially: to become everything that one is capable of becoming,” writes Maslow.
Peak experiences are important moments: Creative, unifying, transcendent, mystical, which bring a sense of individual purpose. Self-actualized individuals have peak experiences frequently while non-self-actualizers have them occasionally. “Not only are these his happiest and most thrilling moments, but they are also moments of greatest maturity, individuation, fulfillment—his healthiest moments,” Maslow described when defining the episodic nature of self-actualization. “He becomes in these episodes most truly himself, more perfectly actualizing his potentialities, closer to the core of his being.”
Meditation, self-hypnosis and imagery are sources for inner exploration that can lead to self-actualization. For more information contact Dr. Richard Browne at (305) 595-9500.
"Written by Rev. Dr. Richard Browne