Abraham Maslow was a humanistic psychologist whose theories of self-actualization and hierarchy of needs had a significant impact on the field of human development. Maslow was a very optimistic theorist regarding human beings, with thoughts that he wanted humans to be happy and be the best that they can be regarding their life path.
Maslow defined self-actualization as a human being realizing personal potential, self- fulfillment and one who seeks personal growth and peak experiences in their life path (McLeod,
Self-actualization is included in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (McLeod, 2007) model. Self- actualization is the pinnacle of human development, although Maslow did say that there were no perfect human beings. An individual must satisfy the lower, baser needs to be able to move up the pyramid to self-actualization. Every human being is capable of reaching the level of self- actualization, but negative events in our lives creates a flux where we go back and forth between the levels contained in the hierarchy. Maslow noted that only one person in a hundred become fully self-actualized because our society rewards motivation based on esteem, love and other social needs (McLeod, 2007). In the Blewitt and Broderick (2010) text, a concept I thought was interesting was the importance of food as a basic need. The question was posed, “if food was basic for survival, then why do people refuse to eat?” The individual might be experiencing an eating disorder and this would possibly be a stumbling block in regards them achieving self- actualization. Maslow’s hierarchy model consisted of five levels which included basic needs (food, water, air), safety needs (security, limits), social needs (love, family, affection), esteem needs (self- esteem, independence), self-actualization (realizing potential, self-fulfillment) (McLeod, 2007).
According to Maslow,
References: Broderick, P. C., & Blewitt, P. (2010). The Life Span: human development for helping Professionals. Boston, MA: Pearson Publishing Diessner, R. (2008). Classic edition sources human development. Dubuque, IA. mcgraw hill contemporary learning series. McLeod, S. A. (2007). Maslow 's Hierarchy of Needs - Simply Psychology. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html