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Self-Actualization: Do we Get It, Have It, Do it, or Be It?

So what is Self-Actualization?  Maslow described it this way: “What a man can be, he must be.  It refers to the desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially.”

Maslow’s Key Characteristics of Self-Actualization:

  • Acceptance and Realism- more efficient perception of self, others, and the world.
  • Problem Centering- generally strongly focused on problems other than self.  Concerned with problems of others, society, and world.
  • Spontaneity, Simplicity, & Naturalness- a person capable of respect for himself and his enjoyment, but does not harm others.  Knows how to be “himself”.
  • Autonomy and Solitude- believes in who and what he is.  Has a need for independence and privacy.   Takes time to focus on development of self.
  • Peak Experiences- experiences freshness and appreciation.  Profound sense of joy, awe, beauty, and wonder.

“A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately happy.  What a man can be, he must be.  This need we may call self-actualization. “

–    Abraham Maslow

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Judy W Bell

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