Self-Actualization

Self-actualization is one of Maslow’s needs in his hierarchy of needs. It is the highest level of psychological development. It is when one reaches his or her full potential. This only happens after the basic physical and mental needs are met.

I began to think how this hierarchy of needs fits with my current situation Currently, we are in the midst of a quarantine across the country due to the spread of the COVID19 virus. Many people are suffering and many more are in a holding pattern, sitting at home with little to do. We are all at different levels on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

The first level of needs on Maslow’s hierarchy pyramid is physiological needs. My basic needs of food, shelter and warmth are all being met. I have a nice home with all the material things that I may need.

The second level of needs is a sense of security and safety. That need is being met. I am not afraid of anyone breaking into my house or anyone hurting me. I’m safe.

The third level of needs is a sense of community, a sense of belonging and being loved. I’m lucky in this area. My spiritual community has several opportunities during the week for us to get together for music, meditation and lessons. There is always someone calling or writing, checking up on me.

My fraternity brothers have had meetings and happy hours on Zoom. We’ve been able to drink and smoke cigars and talk mess. They are from all over the country and from different times in my life. I’ve enjoyed these brothers.

My storytelling guilds have had meetings on Zoom also. We’ve told stories and shared our experiences. It has been just about as good as our face to face meetings.

My community needs have been fully met.

The next level of need is esteem. This is the need to feel prestige and a sense of accomplishment.

My sense of accomplishment starts with winning the morning by completing my morning run and exercise routines. I’ve been good at this. Even when it’s been hard, I’ve gotten up and got my three to five mile runs in. I’m in good shape.

Writing is another task I need to complete to feel good about myself. I have a goal to write 300 to 600 words a day. I haven’t been as good with this goal as I would like, but I’m getting better. I’m getting more disciplined and it is becoming easier.

Finally, I just feel so much better when I get my chores done. I begin each day with a “To Do List” and I love to cross items off my list. I get a charge of endorphins and feel so much better when I get things done.

So, with my basic physical and mental needs met, I’m in a perfect position to pursue the ultimate need. The need for self-actualization.

Self-actualization is achieving one’s full potential. It’s doing what you feel you were made to do. It’s effortlessly being you.

For me that need is to communicate. I am fully being me when I am informing, inspiring and/or entertaining others. I do that with speeches and stories; sometimes written and sometimes verbal. But I’ve got to speak.
I have had so many opportunities to self-actualize, to just be me. I’ve had speaking engagements and storytelling events. I’ve had to do them in a new fashion, on Facebook, YouTube, Zoom, etc. but I’ve done them. They have kept me alive, kept me going.

That’s what self-actualization is, a chance to keep going, to be ourselves, to do our thing and to serve others. Even in the midst of a virus quarantine we can be ourselves and help others.

We each have our thing. We can all make that thing actually come true. We can self-actualize.

During this time of quarantine, it’s a good time for introspection. Check out where you are. Where do you want to be? What do you want to do? How can you make it happen?

This is a good “down” time and its affecting everyone. It will be interesting to see how each of us come out on the other side. I hope you like me, self-actualize.

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