"Self Actualization is the intrinsic growth of what is already in the organism, or more accurately, of what the organism is." Abraham Maslow
Maslow studied healthy people, most psychologists study sick people. The characteristics listed here are the results of 20 years of study of people who had the "full use and exploitation of talents, capacities, potentialities, etc.." Self-actualization implies the attainment of the basic needs of physiological, safety/security, love/belongingness, and self-esteem. Maslow's Basic Principles:
The normal personality is characterized by unity, integration, consistency, and coherence. Organization is the natural state, and disorganization is pathological. The organism can be analyzed by differentiating its parts, but no part can be studied in isolation. The whole functions according to laws that cannot be found in the parts. The organism has one sovereign drive, that of self-actualization. People strive continuously to realize their inherent potential by whatever avenues are open to them. The influence of the external environment on normal development is minimal. The organism's potential, if allowed to unfold by an appropriate environment, will produce a healthy, integrated personality. The comprehensive study of one person is more useful than the extensive investigation, in many people, of an isolated psychological function. The salvation of the human being is not to be found in either behaviorism or in psychoanalysis, (which deals with only the darker, meaner half of the individual). We must deal with the questions of value, individuality, consciousness, purpose, ethics and the higher reaches of human nature. Man is basically good not evil.
Psychopathology generally results from the denial, frustration or twisting of our essential nature. Therapy of any sort, is a means of restoring a person to the path of self-actualization and development along the lines dictated by their inner nature. When the four basic needs have been satisfied, the growth need or self-actualization need arises: A new discontent and restlessness will develop unless the individual is doing what he individually is fitted for. A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write--in short, what people can be they must be. Characteristics of Self Actualizing People
Realistically oriented, SA persons have a more efficient perception of reality, they have comfortable relations with it. This is extended to all areas of life. SA persons are unthreatened, unfrightened by the unknown. they have a superior ability to reason, to see the truth. They are logical and efficient. Acceptance
Accept themselves, others and the natural world the way they are. Sees human nature as is, have a lack of crippling guilt or shame, enjoy themselves without regret or apology, they have no unnecessary inhibitions. Spontaneity, Simplicity, Naturalness
Spontaneous in their inner life, thoughts and impulses, they are unhampered by convention. Their ethics is autonomous, they are individuals, and are motivated to continual growth. Problem Centering
Focus on problems outside themselves, other centered. They have a mission in life requiring much energy, their mission is their reason for existence. They are serene, characterized by a lack of worry, and are devoted to duty. Detachment: The Need for Privacy
Alone but not lonely, unflappable, retain dignity amid confusion and personal misfortunes, objective. They are self starters, responsible for themselves, own their behavior. Autonomy: Independent of Culture and Environment
SA's rely on inner self for satisfaction. Stable in the face of hard knocks, they are self contained, independent from love and respect. Continued Freshness of Appreciation
Have a fresh rather than stereotyped appreciation of people and things. Appreciation of the basic good in life, moment to moment living is thrilling, transcending and spiritual. They live the present moment to...