What is Self-Actualisation?

What is Self-Actualisation?

The term ‘self-actualisation’ was first coined by Kurt Goldstein (a neurologist and psychiatrist). He characterised self-actualisation as a process of becoming a “self” that is holistic – that one’s self and environment make a greater whole.

It was however publicised in Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – stating that it is the pinnacle of what a person can be/achieve in their lives for internal fulfilment, not via external rewards.

(You can see the diagram of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs here: www.johnkennycoaching.com/self-actualisation-diagram)

You will fluctuate between the different levels at various times and therefore it is not necessarily a linear progression. This will also vary from person to person due to our own levels of perceived satisfaction, purpose, potential and motivations.

What Maslow stated was that we need to looking at ourselves as human centred beings rather than animal centred. Looking at our motivations to do or not to do and what drives these motivations.

What could self-actualisation look like?

Maslow quoted that: a musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if they are to be ultimately happy”.

Using myself as an example. If I am to be truly happy and fulfilled then I need to coach people. To be the best coach I can possibly be and get the best results for my clients.

I have worked extensively on myself in the other areas to reach a certain level of ‘completeness’, but without fulfilling my purpose or striving to reach my potential, self-actualisation would not be possible.

Coming back to the point earlier about internal fulfilment versus external fulfilment.

Self-actualisation is based on the internal evaluation of ourselves, not externally recognised success, respect, love or admiration. Basically, how you think/feel about and value yourself.

Although, there will be a measure of external things that will help towards achieving this of course. It is not enough to reach a level of fulfilment without the internal elements being in place.

Self-Actualisation and Coaching

The concept of self-actualisation ties into coaching through its connection with well-being; as those who are self-actualised are also generally high in well-being.

As a coach, it is my passion to help people to reach a level of understanding and acceptance of themselves, to allow themselves to reach their full potential and create an emotional freedom that lets them live a life that is based in achieving what they want. Moving them towards what can be described as self-actualisation.

What self-actualising can mean for you 

As mentioned, realising your personal potential, living a fulfilling, happy and emotionally free life will vary for each person based on each thing that you do, how you relate to it and the meaning that you give it.

Self-actualisation is about achieving your goals and dreams, which means that it is within your grasp and up to you to discover what it means to you and work towards it.

After reading this then ask yourself these questions:

What does self-actualisation mean to you?

When do you feel most self-actualised, and what does it feel like?

How do you think self-actualisation is linked to your well-being?

If you would like to discuss this in more detail and find out how Interpersonal Relationship Coaching can help you then please do get in touch: click on the contact button or call 07709 350019.

I look forward to discussing self-actualisation with you and how you can achieve it.

Be good to yourself


More Blog Posts:

What is Happiness

Is there actually an answer to this question? In this episode I will talk about the topic as a whole and hopefully shed some light on what it looks like, feels like and how it can be attained.

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