Self realization actualization is a term that used in psychology theories. The term was first used by Kurt Goldstein a renowned organismic theorist. Actualization can be exemplified in activities such as expression of creativity, search for spiritual enlightenment, quest for knowledge and wish to serve the society. According to Goldstein, the main drive of actualization is what is referred to as the master motive or the desire to self-actualize.
Abraham Maslow is the other individual who attempted to explain this concept at length. He describes it as the highest level of psychological development which is realized after all the basic needs have been met. The basic needs, according to Maslow, include food, sense of belonging, shelter, warmth and security among others. It is only after these are obtained fully that a person can claim to find meaning in life.
Maslow expounded on the theory further by listing the attributes that can be used to identify individuals that have actualized. While they may come from diverse backgrounds, they all have a number of things in common. One of the most distinguishing features is that they can live creatively since they have realised their full potential. They have learnt to make an honest judgement of situations and for this reason they do not like persons that are dishonest and fake.
Self-actualized individuals have accepted the fact that they are humans and such they have some flaws that they have to live with. Similarly, they have accepted the flaws of other people and the challenges of nature and are ready to accommodate them. Many of them are spontaneous and reactive creatively even when faced with unexpected circumstances. For this reason, they can adapt to almost any situation that faces them.
The other important attribute is that they like to fellowship with other humans. They identify with other humans and can form deep interpersonal relationships with the people around them. Ironically, they can still feel very comfortable in solitude. This is probably an opportunity to reflect on their lives. Additional characteristics include a good sense of humor, autonomy and freshness of constant appreciation.
Realization is often used separately from actualization in some contexts. It refers to the independence that one acquires from external coercion. This includes freedom from political, economic and cultural influences. The main governing principle in this theory is that in each person is an authentic self that has to be discovered through spiritual striving. This can happen gradually over time or instantaneously as long as adequate preparation of the mind has been done.
In many Eastern cultures, actualization and realization have a religious connotation. In Hindu religion, for example, the concept is said to the identification of the true self. It is mainly promoted by the Advaita Vedanta which strongly emphasizes on the importance of showing selfless love to other people. Reference has also been in Buddhism and Sikhism.
The self realization actualization theory bears different meanings to different people. These include the fields of spirituality, psychology and religion. There are many similarities in spite of these differences. Over the years, many criticisms have been directed to this theory. As a result, a number of previously held beliefs have been dropped.
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