What does self-actualization mean?

Written by Shawn Dwyer
When a person is fully functioning in life, at their best and capable to maintain the human drives, they are said to be fulfilling their needs, self-actualizing.
Human potential includes the higher needs which are in fact distinguishable from the animal needs, we will describe both needs in this article and how they relate to self-actualization. Needs are arranged from deficiency to abundance allowing us to gratify our human drives to operate at our best.
Our needs are encoded with our meanings, we call this semantically encoded. A major factor on how to satisfy our needs comes from the meanings we give to the instincts we live. Therefore we actually have no true “instincts,” only instinctoids. The human instinct is the drive to learn, to create meaning. So you are both a creature and a creator of your life, experiences, and reality. The question arises, are you able to meet for the basic human needs?

Failure To Cope Effectively

People are required to develop self gratification in a disciplined approach relating to each need of which we place in ‘the needs hierarchy’. The gratifications are life distinctions and skills to ensure we can maintain a good balance of health, based on the categories in a hierarchy. These categories differ but generally they point to the same overall sections for a quality life, however the mastery is in the details.
Failure To Cope Effectively Causes all kinds of problems in our life:
• Stress, dis-ease
• Fight/flight responses and reactions,
• Distraction from the highest and best, pathologies, neurosis
• Living life only at the animal level, etc.

A True Satisfier

Health can be defined as operating in a functional way to ensure we are balancing the excellent characteristics of a need with the sufficient amount we require for personal gratification. The variables to determine your needs can be understood by
A true satisfier for a need is defined as;
1) Its absence breeds illness.
2) Its presence prevents illness.
3) Its restoration cures illness.
4) Under certain free choice situations, it is preferred by the deprived person over other satisfactions.
5) It is found to be inactive, at low ebb, or functionally absent in the healthy person.
If we are not individually supporting both the quality characteristics and a sufficient amount of our needs, we become unbalanced and are then restricted to gain the necessary requirements that allow us to perform as effective as our potential permits us. Let’s look at this in more detail
Maslow, Rogers, Hall express the basic needs into two main categories
1. D-needs (deficiency) and
2. B-needs (being)
These two main categories then can be split into more sub-categories
Biological and Physiological
Safety and security
Social (love and belongingness)
Self Fulfilment
Self Transcendence

How are the D-needs managed?

The D-needs (deficiency) are what are lived through a ‘more the less’ gratifier where the less we have gratified the need, the more our drive focuses us to fulfilled. So, this means when you are not receiving enough basic life needs, such as food, you search for it the more the less you have it. These are driven by deficiency – by lack. When you do not adequately gratify them, the deficiency creates energy, motivation, emotions, etc. leading to coping behaviors. Are your coping behaviours healthy?
Whilst the D-needs are in operation through this kind of fulfilment drive, our life can become about living in these basic lower levels, like an animal in the jungle, simply maintaining our survival, safety, social and self needs.
When we are not coping, many of these kinds of needs also is where our cognitive thinking can be foggy, limiting our best, and hence our behaviours are not disciplined adequately to fulfil our life basic drives.
Where in life are you looking for more healthy functioning to operate at your best?
The next post will include more about self actualization and what are B-needs, until then if you want to learn the mastery to self actualize, join us for the next one day course on A Self Actualising Life

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