I was so happy to find the concept of my craving for a constant development in Maslow’s book, that I had to share a few ideas with you and read more about it!
Self-actualization theory is about being faithful to our own nature and wanting to be fulfilled by reaching our maximum potential. At first, the concept seemed easy and familiar but it was hard to really define it, thinking that it may overlap with overachievers or that maybe, it is a natural process of actually redefining ourselves as we go along through life and refresh our story with new chapters. Anyway, it didn’t feel like this was quite it so I had to dig better!
Therefore, I ended up reading about this humanistic psychological concept as a growth potential in Carl Roger’s perspective who explains it as the effort to combine the real self with the ideal one. The grasping of this concept seemed complex as it is multifaced and dispersed through its different shapes in personal, professional and social life. It was like trying to define a definition. A pattern remained though, as Albert Ellis said: “self-actualization involves the pursuit of excellence and enjoyment”. It’s a fancy way to define self-exploration in a self-fulfilling way, as the peak of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is conquered.
At the end of the day, I had the feeling that Maslow’s pyramid is the sketch for the self-actualization theory, as a map to human nature. “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be.” – Abraham Maslow