self-actualized

9 Steps to Get Self-Actualized so You Can Finally Reach Your Potential

Self-actualized people are exceptional. They're confident, independent, and free. They bask in the fact that they've reached their potential.

Self-actualized people are extraordinary and different from the rest of society. They’re confident, joyful, creative, independent, and free. These people flow with life instead of resisting or fighting against it. Above all, they bask in the phenomenal feeling of reaching their highest potential.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs

Self-actualization comes from a theory developed by the psychologist Abraham Maslow.

He created the “Hierarchy of Needs,” representing the steps people should take to grow into their greatest selves.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:

Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
My fancy graphic design of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs 😉

The first layer of the hierarchy of needs is to take care of your physical necessities like food, water, and shelter. You can’t achieve anything spectacular if you’re hungry, thirsty, or homeless.

After you have those, you move up a level to attain safety and security because if you’re not safe, you can’t forge much progress.

Next, you’d set your sights on acquiring love and a sense of belonging.

After you have a partner and some friends, you’d move up to the next step. On this level, you’d focus on building self-esteem, respect, and achievements.

If you’re at this step, you might feel you’re missing something—because you are. The last step is to transcend who you are now into your ultimate self—self-actualization—the epitome of the human experience.

Are you ready to get self-actualized?

Photo by Stephan Seeber on Unsplash
Photo by Stephan Seeber on Unsplash

“What a man can be, he must be. This need we call self-actualization.”

Abraham Maslow

Self-actualizing can be a challenge if you’re already going through a demanding time. But luckily, it’s still possible!

Do you feel that you could do more with your life, but you feel held back somehow? If so, you’re ready to become the best version of yourself!

Here are the steps to become self-actualized:

1.    If you want to be self-actualized, you must accept yourself (flaws and all)

accept yourself

“The story of the human race is the story of men and women selling themselves short.”

— Abraham Maslow

First, you need to accept who you are, including your flaws. Some imperfections you can fix, but others you’ll have for life. Decide to approve of these unchangeable traits.

There’s no use in being miserable and fighting against them!

For example, if you think you’re too tall or short, stop disapproving of yourself for this. Embrace it. What else can you do?

Also, a self-actualized person won’t compare themselves to others. They’ve accepted who they are and who others are too. Feeling envy is futile. Getting upset because others are different is ridiculous.

We’re all on separate journeys in life, so there’s no comparison. If it seems like someone’s life is perfect, that doesn’t mean it’s true. Everyone has tough times and problems.

Accept every part of you, even as you’re improving.

2. Become self-actualized by being more independent

Woman walking alone.

“Be independent of the good opinion of other people.”

— Abraham Maslow

Self-actualized people have solid relationships with others. While this may be true, they also cherish the time they spend alone. They understand how vital it is to have an unbreakable connection with themselves.

Self-Actualized guy walking happily alone.

They trust their opinions. As a result, they won’t need to check with their friends to find out what they think before deciding.

If all your friends believe some deranged story, the self-actualized people are brave enough to disagree. Besides, they’ve already accepted themselves, so they aren’t desperate for approval.

Self-actualized guy.

When you embrace your time alone, you learn who you are. You imagine what you want out of life and how you’ll make it happen.

Whereas if you take other people’s dreams as your own, you create a recipe for disappointment. Do what will bring you happiness, but remember, no one can tell you what is except you. Trust your opinions; you’re wiser and more capable than you might think!

3. Try new things

Self-actualized man diving into water.

“It seems that the necessary thing to do is not to fear mistakes, to plunge in, to do the best that one can, hoping to learn enough from blunders to correct them eventually.”

— Abraham Maslow

To become as extraordinary as you can, you must gain more life experiences.

When you’re old, you won’t reminisce about gossiping with friends, eating, or shopping. You’ll think about everything you did and the places you saw.

So, write out a “bucket list” of everything you want to do in your lifetime. For instance, you could include activities like visiting different places, trying creative outlets. You could even learn exciting new subjects, skills, or languages. Write what you’d be proud of accomplishing.

Mountain path.

Self-actualized people live spontaneously. They won’t allow themselves to deteriorate in stagnancy. They’ll do things that make others say, “Wow, I can’t believe you did that!”

Widening your horizon will expand your creativity. Learn different perspectives, so you know what it’s like to live like other people. Then you’ll realize that we’re all connected regardless of our lifestyles.

4. Embrace honesty

Embrace honesty to be self-actualized.

“Self-actualizing people are those who have come to a high level of maturation, health and self-fulfillment… the values that self-actualizers appreciate include truth, creativity, beauty, goodness, wholeness, aliveness, uniqueness, justice, simplicity, and self-sufficiency.”

— Abraham Maslow

It’s necessary, to be honest with others and yourself if you want to be self-actualized. I’m an INFJ, so honesty has always been important to me.

Everything you say or do needs to be authentic and real. Besides, every time you lie, you downgrade yourself to a lower level.

Instead, tell people what you think, regardless of whether they agree. Be bold enough to speak out for what you feel is right. Dare to be a nonconformist!

Self-Actualized guy.

Decide for yourself who you are and what you believe. Never hand this job over to anyone else. Refuse to fall for brainwashing. You’re competent enough to judge how you feel. Not to mention, no one’s more qualified than yourself to tell you what to believe.

Live your truth every day.

5. Experience the present

Woman smelling roses.

“The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.” 

— Abraham Maslow

Self-actualized people realize how precious life is, and they live accordingly. It’s important to understand that one of these days, you won’t be here anymore.

I know how it felt when my time was almost up, and I was thinking about everything I still wanted to do.

But death doesn’t care if you’re ready or not.

The only reason I’m still here is because of my stubborn tenacity. I refused to go out (a few times) when I should have. But life is too spectacular to let go of, and now I’m grateful for each day I’m alive.

One of my life/death situations happened because of cat allergies. I had an adorable kitten that flared up my asthma for weeks. I thought my body would adjust to it, but I ended up intubated in the ICU for a week!

My oxygen levels were down to 34%, and it shocked the nurses because I was still conscious. But not being able to breathe is one of the most terrifying experiences you can have. So, please take care of yourself.

Hopefully, you won’t wait till you’re near death to realize how valuable life is and how to stay healthy.

Remember to embrace every moment. Take the time to admire the magnificence of the sunset or sunrise. Appreciate every cloudless sky and cool breeze. Relish every laugh and immerse yourself in deep conversations. Cherish all the sacred, beautiful moments of every day.

6. Self-actualized people never stop learning

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash
Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

“All of life is education, and everybody is a teacher, and everybody is forever a pupil.”

— Abraham Maslow

When you’re self-actualized, you’ll crave knowledge. As a result of opening your mind to new subjects, you broaden your perspective of the world.

Read about philosophy, psychology, or anything that sparks your curiosity. Self-education helps you to be a more well-rounded individual.

Self-Actualized woman reading a book.

However, learning requires that you survive through the initial “sucking” phase. You won’t instantly be an expert, so you shouldn’t expect to be one. So, plan on your results not being ultra-impressive at first. In fact, you can bank on making many mistakes.

Self-actualized people learn to laugh at themselves. They won’t take life too seriously because it’s human to have flaws and make mistakes. So why not laugh about it? All the better if you have fun in the process!

But if you power through this stage and reach the other side, you might shock yourself!

7. Dig deep

Dig deep to be self-actualized.

“What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.”

— Abraham Maslow

Addressing our psychopathologies (mental issues) is essential to finding ourselves. Not to mention, they’re one of the major focuses here at Motivated Progress. While it’s not pleasant to think about your issues, it’s necessary for you to triumph over them. These toxic mental habits are damaging to your life, and many people have them.

For example:

Your instinct might be to avoid your problems, but repressing them will only make them worse. Be courageous and dig deep into the issues that have held you back from achieving your goals.

You must examine and dismantle these uncomfortable feelings to heal from them.

8. Find your purpose

Playing guitar.

“Every person is, in part, his own project and makes himself.”

— Abraham Maslow

Finally, to become self-actualized, you must take responsibility for your life and happiness. But you’ll never reach fulfillment if you deprive yourself of a passion or a goal.

Goals give you something to strive for, and they bring excitement and a challenge to each day.

A purpose is a priceless gift you give to yourself because no one else can decide what brings you joy. Therefore, you must search for it on your own.

Your passion is extra valuable when it also benefits others. As a result, contributing to society will double your contentment and satisfaction.

You can discover your purpose from #3 on this list, try new things. The more you explore, the sooner you’ll find an activity that lights up your soul and inspires others.

9. Have peak experiences

Self-Actualized woman by skipping by the water.

“The great lesson is that the sacred is in the ordinary, that is to be found in one’s daily life.”

— Abraham Maslow

Self-actualized people have peak experiences often. A peak experience is a moment of complete bliss and euphoria.

These magical moments happen when you’re doing something you love with exceptional skill. Such as when you’re playing a sport so well that it’s as if you’re a superhuman. Or when you’ve lost yourself in a painting or while playing an instrument.

During a peak experience, you savor the joy of being in flow. You lose your sense of self and forget all your worries.

It can happen at almost any time. Some people use psychedelics to create these experiences. Others have them while admiring the beauty of nature or while achieving a goal.

Peak experience in nature.

Peak experiences are the most profound, captivating, and awe-inspiring times in someone’s life. These moments can increase feelings of connection with the world, self-awareness, and empathy.

To sum up:

Self-Actualized guy walking.

Self-actualizing will transform you into the most exceptional person you could ever be. It’s possible for you. In fact, it’s everyone’s responsibility to become the best person they can be.

So, don’t try to be like everyone else and decide today to be yourself! Avoid buying the same clothes or the same cell phone as everyone else. Don’t mindlessly agree with what other people think. Relish in being unique!

Self-Actualized man.

Also, enjoy your time alone and work on projects that make you happy.

Take the time every day to be grateful for your life and all the incredible people and things in it.

Never quit learning, and a fantastic way to ensure you do this is to subscribe below! Then, you’ll receive life-changing articles that will help you reach your highest potential.

Now is the time to shine and become a self-actualized masterpiece!

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Sheryl Barnes
I help empower people to achieve their goals and change their lives. Also, I have many years of experience by changing my life for the better. I've always had a strong sense of intuition, emotional understanding, and a desire to help others reach their potential.
Articles: 88

8 Comments

  1. This article is the best ive ever read!!!!! It is truly amazing and inspiring, thank you sooo much for sharing such a meaningful and educational article!!!

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