I think it’s normal that as we grow up, we begin to recognize just how much pressure and fear mold us. What have I erased about myself to be socially accepted? How many times have I censored the truth because I was afraid of being less? When we find ourselves asking questions like these, it’s commonly identified as an existential crisis, which doesn’t make it a happy acknowledgement, to say the least. But, what if I told you that this is also the start to self-actualization? When you learn to recognize that you aren’t living to your fullest potential, that’s when you can begin to take important measures to turn your life around. Are you tired of making excuses for yourself? Psych2Go shares with you 5 effective ways to self-actualize:
1. Write your own eulogy.
This probably sounds intense and even silly, right? But when you write your own eulogy, it helps you recognize the person you want to be remembered as. What qualities do you want to have? Do you want people to remember you for being a good friend or for the strides you took to pursue your passions? When you write your eulogy, it helps you envision what kind of life you want to go after. Your goals, dreams, and ideals will be determined that can help you make the next decision. Consider it a map that will guide you when you’re lost.
2. Be self-aware and reflect on the choices you make.
Self-actualized people have the great capability of reflecting what they want to get out of life. That means being able to admit when they are unhappy, which can be difficult if you sometimes make a choice to fulfill someone else’s dreams. But when you can be honest with yourself and ask why you have taken certain actions, it can be incredibly freeing. You’ll come to realize that you can start over and go after something that personally reflects who you are, rather than live up to the expectations of a loved one or society’s. This is my favorite way to self-actualize. I think we hear too often that there’s only one right way to live, and it’s demoralizing. As a result, we end up robbing ourselves of all the chances we could be taking to do what we’re meant to.
3. Have heart; don’t give up on humanity.
Hardships can encourage us to become self-absorbed if we’re not careful. It’s important to realize that someone else may need help. Be mindful that others are battling something, too, and have heart. You can practice selflessness and still maintain a strong sense of self without losing yourself in the kindness that you give to others. Self-actualizing means seeing the potential not only within yourself, but in others, too. Cultivate deep bonds with people that help you understand that love at its highest and most powerful comes from a place of authenticity. It has no room for facades, perfection, or ego.
4. Let go of your ego and defense mechanisms.
Although defense mechanisms are used for survival instincts, constantly being on guard inhibits you from reaching the fullest of your potential. Learn to let go of your ego and realize that life is more than who you are. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating your accomplishments along the way, but it’s good to practice humility because it reminds you that there’s always something new to learn and more ways to become a better person. Take full responsibility for all your actions. This also means owning up to your mistakes and failures.
If you have a tendency to lash out on others when you’re frustrated or blame others for your problems, then it’s time to take a step back and examine how these repeated behaviors stop you from self-actualizing. You don’t have to be hard on yourself, but realize that it’s never too late to change. Building a healthy perspective is important because it helps you see what needs problem-solving. When you’re blind to toxic or destructive habits, you will only continue to self-sabotage instead of moving forward.
5. Focus on the process, rather than the end result.
Self-actualizing is about the journey, not the destination. Yes, you are striving to be the best version of yourself, but “best” is not synonymous to “perfect.” When you self-actualize, you are aiming to achieve self-fulfillment, but it’s also about understanding that the journey never ends. When you’re open to growing and improving everyday, the opportunities and knowledge you gain are limitless. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted or let down by small details. Instead, focus on the bigger picture. When you adapt a long-term mindset, then you can begin to start this rewarding journey within yourself. Remember, it’s not a race, but rather an awakening.
It’s never too late! What are going to do today to help yourself self-actualize? Psych2Go would love to hear your thoughts! Please be sure to leave a comment down below!
If you enjoyed this article, you may also like 7 Signs You May Be Self-Actualized from Psych2Go.
Green, R. K. (2013, January 18). 4 Steps to Self-Actualization and Becoming the Best Version of You. HuffPost. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
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Sinicki, A. (2018). Some Strategies to Help You Achieve Self-Actualization. Health Guidance. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
Sze, D. (2015, July 21). Maslow: The 12 Characteristics of a Self-Actualized Person. HuffPost. Retrieved January 23, 2018.