Given the human psyche, a person could spend a lifetime discovering who he actually is.
When I was thinking how fragile the human psyche is, the above words came to me. When I look back on my life I can now see specific incidents to showed that my Aspie traits have been with me all along. Why didn’t I discover that until recently? I guess I naively thought that everyone sees the same world I do? Boy, was I wrong about that!
A big part of the subject of philosophy, and theology for that matter, is trying to decipher the human psyche. Most of the best philosophers understood that the human psyche is so diverse and so different in each one of us that understanding it is an impossible task to do at any significant level. I have spent most of my life trying to figure out who I am. That task is certainly not complete, but at least I have come to intelligently fathom parts of it.
Since early on in my life I have had empathy for those who struggle with life. In the last 75 years that has since proven to be a central part of who I am. I love the quote below from Abraham Maslow:
“If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you’ll be unhappy for the rest of your life.” –Abraham Maslow
In other words, if you are not constantly trying to be what you are capable of, you will never have any serious level of happiness. Always trying to be more than you were yesterday should be a goal for each of us. I think I have done a fair job of that, but never enough.
I read most of Maslow’s books as a young man trying to figure myself out. He certainly helped me understand much about life. His Hierarchy of Needs pyramid for a path to self-actualization helped me to understand basic human needs and obtaining happiness in your life.
I was fortunate to have a job that assured the first two needs were met, so I could go directly to the top three. Loving and belonging was a constant struggle, especially since at that time I didn’t understand how my Aspie traits were putting roadblocks in that path. Eventually, I overcame the problems of Esteem and was on the path to self-actualization that I am still on today.
In closing out this post, I have discovered that yes, it takes a lifetime to be who you are capable of being. That is a critical understanding in obtaining happiness, but since happiness is a moving, ever-changing thing it is never complete.
I know Maslow’s theories are pretty dated now, but I think they are still critical to well-being and suggest you read some about him to understand how happiness is a critical part of the human psyche.