This is the introduction to a three part series on “Being”. To lay the foundation for this series I want to give you a brief look at Abraham Maslow’s theories of self-actualization. The last two posts will be about discovering who you are destined to “Be” as your self-actualized self.
I spent several years in the 1970s trying to figure out just who I was. I read dozens of self-help books about that topic. There was Berne, Fromm, Harris, and Maslow, among others, on that list. They didn’t help my personal problems much at the time but I did learn some valuable insight from them. The above graphic pretty simply explains Abraham Maslow’s theory of Self-Actualization, or as I call it “Being”.
Very briefly, according to Maslow each of the needs below the desired peak must be accomplished before the one above it can happen. After we have enough to eat and a place to live we move on to making sure we are safe and secure in our world. Then comes love and self-esteem. I think these two areas are where I had the most trouble. If I had known about my Aspie traits in those years I probably would have gained those two levels much sooner than I did.
Now, let’s get to the peak of this pyramid which is self-actualization. Here is a list of some of the characteristics of a self-actualized person:
- Accepting your own human nature with all its flaws.
- Being true to yourself rather than be how others want you to be.
- Value solitude and being comfortable with yourself.
- Has the ability to laugh at yourself.
- A sense of oneness with humanity.
- Living creatively and up to your potential.
- An unusual ability to detect the spurious and fake dishonesty
One of the things that made Maslow different was that instead of focusing on what goes wrong with people he focused on human potential. How these characteristics above are obtained very greatly from person to person. The overall goal of a self-actualized person is to find their core nature that is unique to them. Whether famous or unknown, educated or not, rich or poor, self-actualized people just know who they are and go about their lives living their core principles.
That’s enough of self-actualization according to Maslow. Next time I will be talking about my definition of the three parts of life that I gleaned from Maslow and in the third post of the trilogy how “being” who you were meant to be might be accomplished.