Self-Actualization – (Handout for Power Point)

No matter who you are, no matter what you did,

no matter where you’ve come from, you can always change;

become a better version of yourself.”  (Madonna)

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” (St. Catherine of Siena)

Definition and meaning

  • Self actualization is the feeling that you have arrived. It comes with a desire to learn what you are good at and do your best at everything.
  • The achievement of one’s full potential through creativity, independence, spontaneity, and a grasp of the real world.
  • The process of establishing oneself as a whole person, able to develop one’s abilities and to understand oneself.
  • Although we are all, theoretically, capable of self-actualizing, most of us will not do so, or only to a limited degree. Maslow (1970) estimated that only two percent of people will reach the state of self actualization.
  • Although people achieve self-actualization in their own unique way, they tend to share certain characteristics.  However, self-actualization is a matter of degree, ‘There are no perfect human beings’

Characteristics Of self-actualizers

  1. They perceive reality efficiently and can tolerate uncertainty;
  2. Accept themselves and others for what they are;
  3. Spontaneous in thought and action;
  4. Problem-centered (not self-centered);
  5. Unusual sense of humor;
  6. Able to look at life objectively;
  7. Highly creative;
  8. Resistant to enculturation, but not purposely unconventional;
  9. Concerned for the welfare of humanity;
  10. Capable of deep appreciation of basic life-experience;
  11. Peak experiences;
  12. Need for privacy;
  13. Establish deep satisfying interpersonal relationships with a few people;
  14. Democratic attitudes;
  15. Strong moral/ethical standards.


Behaviour Leading to Self-Actualization


  • Trying new things instead of sticking to safe paths;
  • Experiencing life like a child, with full absorption and concentration;
  • Listening to your own feelings in evaluating experiences instead of the voice of tradition, authority or the majority;
  • Taking responsibility and working hard;
  • Avoiding pretense (‘game playing’) and being honest;
  • Being prepared to be unpopular if your views do not coincide with those of the majority;
  • Trying to identify your defenses and having the courage to give them up.


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Basic needs … to … Higher needs

  • One must satisfy lower level basic needs before progressing on to meet higher level growth needs.  Once these needs have been reasonably satisfied, one may be able to reach the highest level called self-actualization.
  • Maslow noted only one in a hundred people become fully self-actualized because our society rewards motivation primarily based on esteem, love and other social needs.


Self-Actualization and Beyond…

  1. Be Innovative and Creative

Ground-breaking people are self-actualized people and accomplished.

It involves discernment, self-motivation and courage to move forward taking necessary risk.

It is being adventurous and break the structures which are thought be correct and “only” way.

Be ready to face the consequence for one’s actions.

Learn from the experience of failure and mistakes.


  1. Be open to learn

Personal growth is the outcome of personal interacting with people.

Our interaction involves learning from others, contributing to others’ growth, sharing skills.

Willing to be challenged by others…

Ready for constructive remarks and be criticized.

Also accept to be submissive as well as to lead.


  1. Overcome shyness

Acquire energy to perform the task undertaken.

Have freedom and spontaneity.

Do away with self-consciousness and shyness of adolescence that curtails personal efficiency.

Be self-reliant and make a path for yourself to grow.


  1. Face Growth-choice

Life runs through series of choices, one after another. Seize them as they come.

Choose growth-choice rather than regression-choice.

Growth-choices come on daily basis, it is up to the individuals to choose them for one’s own personal growth.

Make opportunities for growth-choices enriching experience.


  1. Be Spontaneous

Pay attention to spontaneous and natural impulses and not only to negative impulses filled with prohibitions—don’t do this, don’t do that…

Spontaneous impulses help in growing in our potentiality. They could be constructive and creative.

But it is important to look at them objectively and avoid destructive ones.

But do not allow the impulses to control you.


  1. Assume Responsibility

Self-actualized persons assume responsibility and do not pass it to others.

Assuming responsibility involves facing the consequences squarely and honestly.

It also involves acknowledging one’s mistakes and learning from it.

Taking responsibility is linked dependability, reliability and faithfulness… this makes the person lovable and valuable.


  1. Experience Joy

We all have moments of joy.

Joy is the fruit of our contemplation on nature, art, relationship, etc. it is up to us to feel them.

Give yourself the experience of joy.

Joy helps you to expand the boundaries of your person and enrich yourself immensely.


  1. Be committed

Commitment is all that makes the difference.

Give yourself fully into what you are doing.

Put all your efforts and all the resources at hand into making something beautiful at a given time.

Do not allow energy to be scattered on irrelevant matters.

Control thoughts, worries that are unproductive.


  1. Mind your defence mechanism

They are denial, rationalization, fantasizing, projection, repression, compensation….

Increasing the self-knowledge helps to mind our defence mechanism, knowing that defending yourself does not help to grow.

Develop courage to face the situation.

Aim at being yourself, but yourself fully actualized.


  1. Self-transcendence

self-transcendence results from unselfish motives to grow beyond one’s need and trying to meet the needs of others (not only one’s own needs).

True self-fulfillment is God-centered and others-centered rather than self-centered.

Fulfilling God’s plan and His will surely lead to our own fulfillment.

…Making God’s vision our vision…




  • Every person is capable and has the desire to move up the hierarchy toward a level of self-actualization.  Unfortunately, progress is often disrupted by failure to meet lower level needs. Life experiences including divorce and loss of job may cause an individual to fluctuate between levels of he hierarchy.
  • Maslow noted only one in a hundred people become fully self-actualized because our society rewards motivation primarily based on esteem, love and other social needs.



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