There is a lot of misconception and misunderstanding over what self actualisation is and how we can best achieve this state. Here we already have a contradiction in terms because self actualisation is ultimately not something we achieve but a way of being and living in the now. Living out our highest aspirations from our highest values. Ultimately to live in this way we do not need to have much in terms of possessions.
Self-actualisation is a state of life and experience where you are consciously choosing to actualise your highest self, follow your passions and be at your best. You are experiencing states of bliss regularly, acting for the purposes of optimum states and experience and not out of a desire to meet the lower needs such as esteem or materialism. It is to be fully self-expressive, enjoying every moment and driven by a sense of purpose and possibility.
~ M. L Adams
Abraham Maslow described it this way; A self-actualiser is a person who is living creatively using his or her potentials. What a man can do, he must do. It refers to self-fulfilment; namely what he can do potentially and to actualise this.
Characteristics of self-actualisation;
• Comfortable acceptance of the self
• Reliant on our own experiences and judgement
• Spontaneous and natural
• Task centred
• Continued freshness of appreciation
• Appreciation for deeper beauty
• Comfort in solitude
• Peak experiences
As you can see from the above list they are all ways of being.
So how then can we attain a way of being that is not about getting somewhere?
When we are children we are effectively already in this state of self actualisation, living freely, enjoying life as it is and just being in the moment, following what we love to do. Over time we just build up conditioning which effectively blocks us from this state of true freedom.
The process is then more about removing what we don't need, that which actually gets in the way of us being free and living as our true selves.
As Bruce Lee stated;
"It is not the daily increase but the daily decrease."
Our worlds as we see them are made up of a set of beliefs and meanings. We function from inner to outer, as we see the world this is how it becomes to us. Therefore the core of the work is in working on adapting our beliefs and meanings in addition to taking consistent action towards our goals and dreams. To actively seek a higher state of living in terms of your own personal aspirations and not those of others or societal conditioning.
Being self actualised is the ultimate state of happiness; you are following what is in your heart and that is what makes you really happy, being who you truly are. Living the life you want to live.
A way you can begin to live this way more deeply everyday is to start look at what it is you really want.
Just some of the questions you can ask yourself are:
- What are you really passionate about?
- What were the dreams you had as a child?
- Why do you feel you are here? What is your purpose
Then you can begin to look at what gets in the way of these,
- What limiting beliefs do you hold about yourself or the world?
- What fears get in the way of you living the way you have wanted to?
- If there were no limits what would you do now to take action towards your dreams?
- And what can you do now?
With every action, you are then beginning to live in this way. By focusing on your highest goals and dreams you become driven towards them and at your highest self. This is different and individual to everyone of us. It is being real with who we truly are.
It is a beautiful process, a beautiful way of life