In 1943 Maslow presented his ‘Hierarchy of Needs’, a model of how humans are motivated. He suggested that we move our psyche and our whole being towards something that he called ‘self-actualisation’ (Maslow, A. A Theory of Human Motivation, 1943). For Maslow, self-actualisation is the realisation of a person’s full potential to be the most they can be.
Self-actualisation may look like being the best parent, artist, writer or daughter you can be. Self-actualisation becomes the motivating force based on your values. It is a drive to be the best you can be in any particular area of life.
In later years Maslow added another layer to his hierarchy of needs, transcendence. In this layer, he thought the fullest realisation of self was to give to something beyond the self, like being moved by environmental issues or helping at a dog shelter, being inspired to help others in any way.
He also said to reach these stages, we need to have met our physiological needs for warmth, shelter and food, then our need for safety, then the need for love and belonging, then for self-esteem and status before reaching self-actualisation.
Some questions to ponder:
- Where am I deeply passionate about something in my life?
- What might self-actualisation in this area look like for me?
- What can I do daily to live more of that future self in my life?
If you feel to, I’d love to hear what area you feel drawn to.
For me, it is in mental and spiritual health 💛🙏🌈