Eight Tips to Master Self-Actualization
Self-care is essential to living an enjoyable life, but many times, we exert much of our energy towards helping others feel happy and loved. Activities such as making family meals, coordinating celebrations and taking part in extra-curricular activities help us satisfy the basic human need of belonging.
As you can see from the graph of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (below), belongingness and love are at the heart of the human experience. That’s great! Don’t give that up. Give your relationships the attention they deserve. But REMEMBER TO ALSO DEVOTE TIME TO YOUR OWN GOALS AND DREAMS. Receive joy from the outcome!
How often do you participate in self-actualization?
When was the last time you made yourself a fancy meal, just because you love yourself? Have you ever thrown yourself a party? Most importantly, do you engage in activities that satisfy the need of actualizing your wishes and desires?
If you’re not sure how to take action towards self-actualization, read through the eight tips below. Practice a little bit each day, referring to the graph, as needed.
Practice these eight tips for mastering self-actualization:
1. Gratitude is the Attitude.
Say, “THANK YOU” throughout the day. It may feel silly at first, but a big part of self-actualization is enjoying the journey through all of life’s experiences, including the other needs. So, the more gratitude you have for all life offers, including the basics, your relationships, and so on, the more you will see that is amazing and the more self-actualized you will become. Practice until it becomes a habit. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to make people wonder why you smile all the time .
Try this the next time you make a cup of tea, (or coffee):
“Thank you, tea pot. Thank you, faucet. Thank you, plumber who laid the pipes. Thank you, city for delivering water. Thank you, Earth for having plenty of nourishment. Thank you, stove for always working. Thank you, civilization for being at this standard of living during my lifetime. Thank you, tea farmer. Thank you, delivery driver. Thank you, road construction crew. Thank you, grocery store….”
And so on. . . before the kettle can come to a boil, you will feel rejuvenated. And then, you’ll have tea!
2. Analyze This! Analyze That.
Take a step back and observe for a moment. Open your eyes, mind, heart, and spirit. Really assess what is in your environment from an objective point of view.
Practice being objective in challenging situations by pretending you are watching yourself in a movie or on television. Observe what is going on in front of you, without reacting to anything personally. What would the character (you) do next? How would they have to act in order to receive the most desirable outcome? Asking yourself these types of questions can help develop self-awareness and ultimately self-actualization.
3. Make New Friends. Keep the Old.
Because belongingness and love make up the core of human needs, it’s important to be selective about the people allowed into your inner circle. If someone is taking more time/energy/emotion/devotion than they are giving, it really is okay to say, “I love you, but I can’t give this relationship energy right now.”
That’s not a forever statement! It’s saying that right now, the relationship is not adding to your life; it is taking away. Recognize that feeling, please. I promise – it is possible to be surrounded by like-minded individuals. It’s not to say that they will not challenge stuck beliefs, but they will support whatever it is that makes you feel whole, happy, and loved.
Unfriend. Unfollow. Remember, love can not come from an unwilling participant. Release yourself of any “bad” feelings that come up when you let someone go. Trust that they are on their journey, with their own life lessons to learn, and you are here for your own adventure. Start interacting more with people who motivate you to achieve your highest potential.
Make smart choices when eating. Indulge in what you love, but watch the portions. Eat healthy, home-cooked meals as often as possible. Drink lots of water, (more than you think you need). And limit processed and unnatural components in your environment.
Good health doesn’t have to be a chore! In fact, do not make it tedious or hard. Try to make it an expression of your creativity by doing activities that make you feel alive. Walking, hula-hooping, dancing, stretching, jumping on trampolines, roller skating are just a few ideas! The possibilities are endless.
There’s no need to make a drastic overhaul. Simply do a little more each day towards the healthy lifestyle your body deserves. Our physical being is the vessel housing our life experience!
5. Just Do It!
Did you know in some countries career paths are determined by school-administered aptitude tests and the economic needs of society? Here in the U.S. there is much more acceptance, and even encouragement, towards pursuing personal dreams. Take advantage of the wealth of opportunities and resources available.
What highly unique set of desires is deep within you, just asking to be expressed? How do you want to contribute to your community? One more big question: If you had a copious stream of income; what product or service would you offer?
Focus on the end result. Yes, it’s far away. It won’t always be — if you walk towards that dream! Take baby steps. One each day. An hour here. A task there. Recognize your contributions and mastery of your craft. Embrace your individuality.
6. Get Out of the Box!
Children are discovering new things every day with open minds and hearts. They are learning rules, concepts, and beliefs as they go along, unaware of “the way things are”. The next time you realize “you’ve always done something that way,” do something completely different. If it makes you tingly in your tummy, you’re on your way to fun and discovery!
Once outside your comfort zone, you’ll begin to notice new ideas and solutions to problems that can’t be seen from inside the box. The longer you linger out here, in imagination, the more creative you’ll become.
If this is difficult for you, try engaging in activities that remind you of happy moments in your childhood. Swing sets and slides work for me. Swimming and playing in water are good for me, too. Try to remember what it felt like the first time you went somewhere special. What things did you and your childhood best friend do together? Do that, no matter how silly!
7. Make A Difference
For a long time, I focused on the need to receive financial compensation in return for my services. Everyone deserves fair pay in a world governed by money – including me, but this is a story about how easy it was to start making money by doing what I love. I simply shifted my attention to offering my gift (the thing I love doing most), to others. I made my presence available, and almost immediately, my actions started to make a difference in people’s lives.
The result? I enjoy myself and others benefit from my actions. In turn, I am constantly being rewarded with book sales, booked workshops, and notes of praise from fans. Work falls into my lap and I am directed towards success. I remind myself regularly to take meaningful actions by asking how can I give of myself today? Where is my energy needed?
Shift your perspective towards sharing your gift, and away from fair compensation, and you may discover a dream lifestyle!
8. Show Time!
There is a seemingly endless supply of books, blogs and articles full of tips about self-care and the maintenance of romantic relationships. I’d like to share something a little different. I like to sing and dance to upbeat music with inspiring lyrics and motivational beats, while thinking about emitting my emotions to the Universe. Yep. I sing to Spirit, nature, God, myself…this helps me feel loved, because, well, I understand that I am connected to and part of the Divine.
It’s kind of like a prayer. So, if you pray or meditate in any traditional way, you’ll reap the same benefits as my song and dance routine. Connecting to spirit can help actualize your goals by offering security through faith. I don’t believe there is a human alive who does not have conversations with themselves; our brains are wired to process thoughts. If you’re not liking the discussion inside, change it up by singing a new and joyous song.
Like this silly song and dance, for instance: