Self-actualisation and self-acceptance are vital aspects of personal growth and development. You will have heard a lot about them—but what’s the difference?
Self-actualisation is a journey of self-discovery and self-expression where people explore their interests, values and goals and work out what they want their life’s purpose and meaning to be. It’s the process of realising and fulfilling your full potential—#intellectual, #physical, #spiritual, #emotional.
The concept was first introduced by US psychologist Abraham Maslow in his Hierarchy of Needs theory, where it’s considered the highest level of human motivation. Maslow proposed that human needs are arranged in a hierarchical manner, starting with basic physiological needs such as food, water and shelter, and progressing to higher level needs such as self-actualisation and fulfilment.
According to #Maslow—who died at age 62, cutting short his pathway to experiencing for longer his own theory—a person will only be motivated to satisfy their higher level needs once their lower level ones have been met.
Self-actualisation requires setting achievable goals then taking action to fulfil them. It also takes the ability to adapt and change as your life does. It involves exploring new experiences, developing new skills and taking risks. It’s not just about achieving personal success but also about finding a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment in life.
Self-acceptance is about embracing and accepting your true self. Especially the hidden bits you fear are so ugly they’ll drive people away if you show them. It’s about letting go of the negative self-image, self-doubt and #perfectionism which often stop us reaching our full potential. It’s about recognising and accepting our own strengths, weaknesses and limitations.
Perhaps most of all, it involves stopping comparing ourselves to others. The only person you should ever compare yourself to is yourself. Then you’ll build a strong sense of #confidence and #self-worth which lets you chase their dreams with greater determination and #resilience, unbothered by what anyone else is doing. You’ll not just be back in the driver’s seat, but be steering yourself down your own path.
Both self-actualisation and self-acceptance are lifelong journeys that are influenced by a range of factors including childhood experiences, beliefs, values and relationships. They require a level of self-awareness and introspection, plus a true willingness to embrace growth and change.
How can you enhance them?
There’s a ton of practices which will help you get a deeper understanding of your thoughts, behaviours and emotions and cultivate #self-awareness and #self-compassion: try #mindfulness, #meditation, #counselling, #journaling, intentional #self-reflection.
Your path to self-actualisation is the process—lifelong, I must add—of fulfilling your potential and becoming the best version of yourself. It’s an important, challenging, rewarding journey of self-discovery and growth, and one of the foundations of leading a meaningful and fulfilling life. Here are 11 strategies to get you there.
- Get to know yourself. To achieve self-actualisation, you need to have a deep understanding of your values, beliefs, strengths, weaknesses. Take time to reflect on your feelings, thoughts and experiences. This introspection can be helped by counselling, meditation and journaling.
- Set clear goals. Define what you want to achieve so you have a roadmap for your personal growth. This will give you direction and accountability. Make sure your goals align with your values and purpose and are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.)
- Build strong relationships with family, friends, your partner and colleagues. These will give you emotional and mental support and help you grow personally. Surround yourself with supportive people who encourage and motivate you.
- Embrace change. Yes, change can be tough but it’s necessary for personal growth. Be open to new experiences and perspectives. Embrace the challenges that change throws up. Seek out opportunities for personal development: think travel and education. You’ll grow and develop resilience (and have a great time.)
- Practice mindfulness and cultivate inner peace. Being present in the moment and paying attention to your thoughts, feelings and sensations can help you become more self-aware, reduce stress and anxiety and improve your overall wellbeing.
- Pursue your passions. Doing what you love can bring joy and fulfilment. Take time to explore your interests and hobbies and find what it is that brings you a sense of purpose and satisfaction. If you’re bored with Pilates, ditch it. Shake things up.
- Be authentic. This is a key to self-actualisation. Be true to yourself and don’t try to conform to the expectations of others or what society says you should do. Instead, consciously strive to live a live true to your values and beliefs. Start small? Don’t feel like wearing makeup to the parents’ function at school? Don’t. Revel in being you.
- Look after your physical health. Regular exercise, proper sleep and excellent nutrition can improve your energy levels, mood and overall health including mental and emotional. It’s all linked.
- Give back to others. Share your knowledge for free. Do shifts at the local op shop. Make a cake for your neighbour. Finding ways to volunteer your time, resources or skills to help others will bring a sense of fulfilment and purpose to your life.
- Stay motivated. Keep your energy and enthusiasm high by regularly doing things that inspire and bring you joy. Make time for the things that are important to you, including work and relationships.
- Learn from failures. Don’t be afraid to fall over and have to pick yourself up. Instead, see it as a great bespoke opportunity to learn and grow. The hard stuff is where the magic lies, if you look close enough.
Your path to self-actualisation is a journey that takes time and effort. Trust me, I’ve been there and am still on the path. But the rewards are lasting and life-changing.
If you would like some support in your journey towards self-actualisation and self-acceptance, reach out to connect with me. I offer 1:1 coaching and group programmes to support people to live their best lives through clarity, communication and compassion. Because you are worth it!
Be Curious. Be Courageous. Be You!
#selfacceptance #selfactualisation #personaldevelopment #selfdiscovery #selfimage