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Updated: May 14, 2019

If you are familiar with the Maslow pyramid then you might heard about self-actualization.

According to Abraham Maslow, “self-actualization” is the emotional state of a person who is in a position to achieve their highest potential. Self-actualization is something totally different than having a healthy self-esteem. There are lots of people out there who feel good about themselves but are not willing to pay the emotional price of expanding their personality. You cannot become self-actualized if you’re comfortable where you are.

1. I guess in life you start at the bottom of this pyramid and you might actually go back and forth a couple of times in your life. The basic needs, the ones we all look for as human beings. Are the physiological needs: water, food, warmth rest. If you somehow can't provide for this then you might find yourself here. Maybe you are looking for a new house and you have to move soon, then this issue might be on your mind a lot. I think as humans we can bare a lot but only when these basic needs are stable we can focus on the other aspects.

If you are homeless living on the streets and you live from day to day to find food and a shelter then you basically have a long way to go. That's what I understand from this pyramid.

2. People crave protection and the feeling of safety in life. Each person in it's own way.

Feeling safe in the environment is important to focus on the next steps. Think about people currently living in warzones. If it's not safe, it's better to find a better environment. There are millions of people crossing borders every day, taking risks to move to other countries to survive and be safe.

3. Love and Belonging. The feeling of love, whether it is family, friends, a relationship, or all of the above, these all create a sense of larger meaning within an individual. Even independent individuals crave the feeling of love and a sense that they belong somewhere. Even when trying not fitting in with the herd, then people will try to fit in the group of outsiders. Relationships and interacting with people on some level will contribute to our well being.

4. Without confidence, self-love, and a form of meaning, it is difficult to reach our goals and desires. This part of the pyramid relies on the steps below it and is crucial to reach the top, self-actualization. I think most people on this planet won't come this far. I wonder If I ever will.

It's hard work to get there and in a way you need to have completed all the previous components of the pyramid. When being born in a third world country you might have to work much harder to get to this top, because you need to have all the other ingredients first. But it's possible.

Like the rapper Drake said "Started from the bottom". And now we can place ourselves somewhere on this pyramid. I guess when I was a student I struggled with paying rent and having something left for food but when going "home" to the parents all those basic needs were provided there. The student life was like a trial period. Eventually you will leave the nest, fly solo and you might have to start at the bottom. Later in life, things might happen and you might find yourself focussing on a different level (of the pyramid). Maybe you are dealing with family issues, or are in a bad relationship. It doesn't necessarily has to be a problem in whole but the basics are important to dig deeper and work on yourself. Self-actualization is a broad term. I think it has to do with a lot of different aspects like having a great work satisfaction and work performance, creative ability, well-being, including life satisfaction, curiosity, self-acceptance, balanced relationships, environmental awareness, personal growth, and a feeling of having a purpose in life.

I think a lot of young people around me are "working" on themselves. Taking the journey of discovering "the self". As human race we are becoming more intelligent and I believe in this century we have the tools and the knowledge to work on do so.

Personally I can compare my life before and after being paralyzed. Ofcourse there is a difference. If I look back at the last two years, I had to fight (again) to work my way up.

I've compared my life with a house a couple of times. It feels like I'm rebuilding the house with the bricks i'd still have left and add some new ones, or replacing some. Slowly I'm starting to feel like I'm getting in a simular position as the one before my accident.

Why did I end up writing my thoughts about the Maslow pyramid? Because I'm looking for my purpose. Everything that happened over the last two years makes me re-think my goals and dreams. Why? Because I've learned a lot and I have other bricks now. I've gained knowlegde. I do not feel comfortable where I am, and I think that's a good position to be in. I want to keeping learning, trying and I am discovering myself on a new/different level.

Life is a Journey.

Photo © Tiger Lopez
Photo © Tiger Lopez

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