Self-actualization is on top of the Maslow hierarchy and refers to fully realizing individual potential as a human. Self-actualizing people are more objective and less emotional, less likely to allow hopes, fears, and see their life clearly. Abraham Maslow found that self-actualizing persons are people who are dedicated to a vocation or a cause. The characteristics of self-actualizing people include fearlessness, effort, inventiveness and spontaneity. Self-exploration and action are the most necessary processes for self-actualization.
Abraham Maslow described Self-actualization in this way:
What a man can be, he must be. This need we may call self-actualization…It refers to the desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially. This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming. 1)
People, who are self-actualized, have very realistiv cognition of themselves, other people and the world.
Self-actualized people are solving problems outside of themselves. They are helping other people to find solutions for problems in the world. These people are very motivated by a sense of personal responsibility.
Self-actualized people are very spontaneous in their ideas and discipline. They tend to be open and unconventional while they can follow the rules and social expectations.
People need autonomy, privacy and time to focus on developing their own potential.
They tend to view everything with a continual sense of recognition and wonder. Simple experiences can be a source of inspiration and pleasure.
People often have peak experiences, or moments of intense pleasure, wonder, respect and ecstasy. After these experiences, people feel inspired, strengthened, renewed or transformed.
Peak experiences boost the personal awareness, understanding and can be a reversal point in the own life. People get more posititve emotions and the experiences are worthwhile.
The others stages of the Maslow Hierarchy are Esteem needs, Belongingness and love needs, Safety needs, Physiological needs.
Positive feelings about yourself is necessary for your overall emotional health and well-being. Without esteem needs, we are filled with feelings of subnormality and negativity in our lives.
Social beings like family, friendships and intimate connections are the normal ups and downs of life. The healthiest and happiest people are more involved in their communities.
Safety needs are the second stage of the Maslow's hierarchy, directly after the physiological needs, but the safety needs are just more than physical safety. Economic, social and psychological security all fall underneath this second stage of human needs. While you don’t always need them, having them gives you trust and self-confidence.
Physiological needs are things like breathing, food, water, sleep or the easier way: biological and physical requirements. People become preoccupied to fill those needs above all other needs.