Self Realisation

We explain what self-actualization is and what its place is in Maslow’s pyramid. Also, what a self-actualized person is like.

A girl finds self-actualization in martial arts.A girl finds self-actualization in martial arts.
The paths to self-actualization can vary from one person to the next.

What is self-realization?

Self-realization or self-satisfaction is the achievement of personal goals and aspirations through one’s own means, and also the state of fulfillment and satisfaction that doing so provides people. It is a term made up of Latin voices car- (“in addition”), reality (“real”) and -izare (“put into practice” or “convert into”), which could be defined as “making dreams come true by one’s own hand.”

It is a word commonly used in psychology and self-help, often with slightly different meanings. It was coined by the German psychiatrist Kurt Goldstein. (1878-1965) as part of his organismic theories, to refer to the materialization of the potential that resides in an individual, that is, his full and positive development. However, today self-realization is more associated with creative expression, spiritual enlightenment, the search for truth, and the task of giving back to society part of what has been received.

This is why, to some extent, all human beings aspire to self-realization, that is, to feel one day that they have fulfilled the mission or aspiration of their lives, that is, that their existences have been worthwhile and have had meaning. . This type of existential satisfaction is much deeper than momentary satisfactions. and worldly pleasures, such as possessions and ephemeral relationships; and is linked to a sense of transcendence and order.

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It may help you: Personal goals

Characteristics of a self-actualized person

The exact terms in which self-realization manifests itself can vary from one person to the next, since they largely depend on each person’s motivations, that is, on what things each individual expects from life.

However, a person with a good level of self-actualization will tend to be:

  • Tolerant with others. Once a person knows and understands the dilemmas that arise in life and that hinder personal fulfillment, he can be more patient with those who are struggling.
  • Wise and knowledgeable. The experience of personal achievements can serve to obtain a more enlightened view of life, which can be shared with younger people through advice and some guidance.
  • Sure of herself. Self-satisfaction brings with it greater self-esteem and a feeling of security that makes people less susceptible, irritable and doubtful.
  • Patient when facing problems. A self-actualized person will often enjoy greater patience and calm when facing a problem, because no matter how serious it may be, other internal issues are already at peace, thus giving them a solid foundation from which to think about the outside.

Self-actualization in Maslow’s pyramid

Maslow’s pyramid is a conceptual instrument created by the American psychologist Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) in his publication A theory of human motivation of 1943. It is a hierarchical representation of human needspyramid-shaped.

The most basic needs are arranged at the bottom and have to do with survival and physical safety. As you ascend the pyramid you reach spiritual needs, including self-realization. In this way, Maslow explained that in order to satisfy the highest aspects of the personality, it is necessary to first guarantee the satisfaction of the most mundane aspects.

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The levels of the pyramid are:

maslow's needsmaslow's needs

As can be seen, the lower rungs (physiological and safety needs) have to do with the direct survival of the individual and the correct performance of their biological functions.

Subsequently, the intermediate steps (needs for affiliation and recognition) have to do with the social life of the individual, their membership in the group and the role they play in it, which is vital for the development of their personality.

Finally, On the top rung of the pyramid is self-realization.which involves the intimate, spiritual or subjective aspects of the individual: his ambitions, his hopes, his creativity, his ability to understand his existence as part of an organized, full and satisfactory whole.

More in: Maslow’s Pyramid

Tips for self-realization

Discovering the path to self-realization is, paradoxically, part of each person’s self-realization. That is, understanding what you want in life and how you can obtain it are part of each person’s needs for meaning. That is why there are no universal rules to achieve self-realization, but there are useful tips to make the path easier, such as:

  • Identify your own objectives. That is, finding one’s own vital motivation, the task that gives meaning to existence. It can be more than one, it can be something very broad or something very specific, the important thing is that it is something that satisfies each person’s need for meaning. To identify it, just open yourself to new experiences and cultivate those that make you happy.
  • Know yourself. It is impossible to achieve self-realization blindly, without understanding who we are, how we are and what makes us happy. But this is not something that one knows from birth, rather it is necessary to learn it along the way.
  • Set achievable goals. It’s easy to get frustrated if you want unattainable or unrealistic things. It is important not to fall into that trap, but to think in pragmatic and realistic terms, to aspire to what is more or less within our reach.
  • Value social relationships. Human beings are a gregarious species, which gives society enormous value. That is why it is impossible to feel self-fulfilled in solitude or isolation, without having someone to share the benefits of life with.
  • Honor the sacrifices. Everything in life comes with effort, and perseverance is the key to success. So only through sustained effort and dedication is it possible to achieve the proposed objectives.
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  • “Maslow’s Pyramid” on Wikipedia.
  • “Self-realization” in the Language Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy.
  • “Information about Self-realization” in the Online Spanish Etymological Dictionary.