Self-Actualization

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Parita Alwani
CLP 2001
Professor William Berry
March 10, 2013

There is much effort invested in attaining the things we want, be it new gadgets, the latest fashions, or the source of it all: money. In fact, we tend to go out of our way to meet these desires, as we believe it will bring us happiness. We’ve been trained to “get rich or die trying”, to create a history of pain to attain a later life of fame, and to build a product called “happiness” with material means. After having gathered all the pots of gold and some over several years, one must sit back with his broken leg and greyed hair and ponder: perhaps smiling would have been simpler. Similarly, self-actualization, though placed at the pinnacle of the need hierarchy, is actually the most basic goal one can achieve. I like to think that our social upbringing has distorted our thinking, in that we consider going to the end of the earth to find happiness is much easier than realizing that it is already present within us. It is almost as if we’ve been socialized to develop in the reversed direction. Not to say that other deficiency motivations must not be met, but that the placement of self-actualization on the top of the hierarchy doesn’t deem it more difficult or complex than other needs. This mindful way of thinking can be instilled from the very beginning of one’s life. This way, self-actualization wouldn’t just be an option, as described by Abraham Maslow in “Self Actualization and Beyond”, but a strong foundation. Surely, just being happy is easier than earning millions to buy this identical feeling. While one can be fulfilled in a moment, the other can take up to a lifetime. Yet we end up doing the latter. Could it be that the act of simply being is too easy to be true, and so we don’t even attempt it? Being is indeed, simple. It is the realization that one must simply be, that is difficult to attain. Being is relative to acceptance of every condition presented to us. If one accepts, there need...
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