Self-realization in Maslow’s Theory | Humanistic Psychology

Self-realization is the full development of an individual’s skills and the realization of his or her potential. In Abraham Maslow’s view, each individual is endowed with an innate propensity for self-realization (Maslow, 1970).

This state, the highest of human needs, involves the active use of all qualities and skills, in addition to the development and full application of individual potential.

For the individual to feel self-fulfilled, it is first necessary to satisfy the lowest needs in the innate hierarchy and each must be met before the next one motivates us.

Maslow’s pyramid . Via Very Well

The needs proposed by Maslow, in order of priority of satisfaction, are physiological, security, pertinence and love, esteem and self-realization.

In his research, Maslow sought to identify the characteristics of people with the need for satisfied self-realization and, thus, considered psychologically healthy. According to your definition, these people do not have neuroses. They are usually middle aged or older and represent about 1% of the population.

Among the famous people with self-actualization characteristics  studied by Maslow through the analysis of biographies and other written records, are the physicist Albert Einstein, the writer and social activist Eleanor Roosevelt and the African-American scientist George Washington Carver.

The individuals with the self-realization of feature present the following tendencies in common:

  1. Objective perception of reality;
    2. Full acceptance of nature itself;
    3. Commitment and dedication to some type of work;
    4. Simplicity and naturalness of behavior;
    5. Need for autonomy, privacy and independence;
    6. “peak” experience or intense mystics;
    7. Attitude of creativity;
    8. High degree of what Adler called social interest.

Maslow believed that the prerequisites for self  – realization were enough love in childhood and the satisfaction of physiological and security needs in the first two years of life. If the child is safe and confident during this period (it was not the case for Maslow), it will be so in adulthood. Without love, stability and respect from parents, it will be difficult for the individual in adulthood to achieve self-realization.

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