Are You A Self Actualized Person? Check Now With these Key Characteristics

Are You A Self Actualized Person

I have a few questions to ask…

Do you wish to lead a meaningful life?

Do you wish to lead a fulfilling life?

If yes then it’s time to fulfill your wish by becoming a self-actualized person. In psychology, it is considered as reaching your fullest potential. If you have ever heard of the hierarchy of need pyramid then you might be aware of the word self-actualization (the topmost need). If not, then it’s okay!

What is Self-Actualization?

Maslow suggests that to lead a good life when you need to be self-actualized. It allows us to maximize our potential and lead a life with purpose. And believe it or not, we are constantly striving and thriving to climb the pyramid of needs and reach the self-actualization level. Though it is quite uneasy to attain, it definitely is achievable.

According to Maslow, there are very few people who are truly self-actualized. Well, whether you fall in this rare category or not can be checked by this checklist of self-actualization traits. The more the checks the better the chances are of you being a self-actualized person.

Note: These traits of a self-actualized person are pulled directly from the book Motivation and Personality that was written by Abraham Maslow and was published in 1970.

Self-Actualization Traits:

1. Acceptance Of Self, Others, And Nature

One of the most important self-actualization traits is accepting oneself with all the goods and shortcomings. They don’t let worries and anxieties cripple in and paint the picture of their life. They also accept others and nature with their arms open and no expectation of changes.

Maslow’s explanation of this self-actualization trait:

“They can accept their own human nature, with all its shortcomings, with all its discrepancies from the ideal image without feeling real concern” (Maslow, 1970).

important self-actualization traits

Also Read: Understanding Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

2. Spontaneity; Simplicity; Naturalness

A Self-actualized person leads a relatively raw and artificiality-free life with their characteristics of spontaneity, simplicity, and naturalness. When placed in a situation that might make them feel out of place their spontaneity always helps them.

Maslow’s explanation of this self-actualization trait:

“Their behavior is marked by simplicity and naturalness, and by lack of artificiality or straining for effect. His unconventionality is not superficial but essential or internal… and he is perhaps more human, more revealing of the original nature of the species” (Maslow 1970).

3. More Efficient Perception Of Reality And More Comfortable Relations With It

Unlike many others, a self-actualized person is likely to have consistency between their ideal and real self. This self-actualization trait suggests that there is no fakeness, falsehood, and dishonesty on their part. Instead, they are better at spotting these inconsistencies in almost all areas of their life.

Maslow’s explanation of this self-actualization trait:

“self-actualizing people have an unusual ability to detect the spurious, the fake, and the dishonest in personality, and in general to judge people correctly and efficiently” (Maslow, 1970).

4. Autonomy (Independence Of Culture And Environment)

Another important trait of a self-actualized person is being autonomous, that is, not being dependent on what others think of them. They are happy being detached from others’ viewpoints as they cherish their true self.

Maslow’s explanation of this self-actualization trait:

“Self-actualized people are not dependent for their main satisfaction on the real world, or other people or culture or means to ends or, in general, on extrinsic satisfaction. Rather they are dependent for their own development and continued growth of their own potentialities. ” (Maslow 1970)

explanation of this self-actualization trait

5. The Quality Of Detachment; The Need For Privacy

Even when life is flooded with new challenges or problems each day, a self-actualized person is likely to stay calm and serene. Their course of action is not an inpatient or violent reaction! They also enjoy isolation by viewing as an opportunity to dive deep into ideas.

Maslow’s explanation of this self-actualization trait:

“They can be solitary without harm to themselves and without discomfort… it is true for almost all that they positively like solitude and privacy to a definite greater degree than the average person.” (Maslow 1970).

6. Problem Centering

This self-actualization trait focuses on a person’s ability to have a wider view of a given situation or problem. This allows them to see all dimensions of a given problem, which opens doors for better solutions. You may think of it as a complete opposite of jumping to the conclusion scenario!

Maslow’s explanation of this self-actualization trait:

“Self-actualizing people are in general strongly focused on problems outside themselves… they are not generally much concerned about themselves… These individuals customarily have some mission in life, some task to fulfill, some problem outside themselves which enlists much of their energies” (Maslow, 1970).

7.   Continued Freshness Of Appreciation

Having a child-like spirit is the hallmark of this self-actualization trait. Just like a child finds beauty and appreciation in the most trivial things an individual finds everything refreshing even if viewing it for a thousandth time. The feeling of newness remains with them.

Maslow’s explanation of this self-actualization trait:

“Self-actualizing people have the wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder and even ecstasy, however stale these experiences may have become to others… for such a person, any sunset may be as beautiful as the first one” (Maslow, 1970).

best self-actualization trait

8. Gemeinschaftsgegühl (A Desire To Help The Human Race)

This German word means feelings of mankind and expressing them in the community. To simplify it is the tendency to help others with no returns in favor. Think of it as a noble act, just like it was displayed by Mother Teresa.

Maslow’s explanation of this self-actualization trait:

“Self-actualizing people have for human beings in general a deep feeling of identification, sympathy, and affection in spite of the occasional anger, impatience, or disgust. Because of this, they have a genuine desire to help the human race as if they were all members of a single family.” (Maslow 1970).

9. Mystic Experiences (Peak Experiences)

This self-actualization characteristic sets them apart. Unlike us, they experience frequent peak experiences, the moments of transcendence. These peak experiences are accompanied by the feeling of being transformed.

Maslow’s explanation of this self-actualization trait:

“Apparently the acute mystic or peak experience is a tremendous intensification of any of the experiences in which there is loss of self or transcendence of it.” (Maslow, 1970).

10. Interpersonal Relations

A self-actualized individual is likely to seek deeper connections in their lives over a plethora of shallow connections. They will prefer a small circle with dedicated connections over a big circle with no interpersonal bond. This selectiveness adds a sense of clarity in their lives.

Maslow’s explanation of this self-actualization trait:

“They are capable of more fusion, greater love, more perfect identification, more obliteration of the ego boundaries than other people would consider possible.” (Maslow, 1970).

interpersonal Relations

11. The Democratic Character Structure

A one-line description for this self-actualization trait will be no conditions attached. They are open to accepting others, learning from them, teaching them, and connecting with them without any inhibitions or conditions attached.

Maslow’s explanation of this self-actualization trait:

“They can be and are friendly with anyone of suitable character regardless of class, education, political belief, race, or color. As a matter of fact, it often seems as if they are not even aware of these differences, which are for the average person so obvious and so important.” (Maslow, 1970).

12. Discrimination Between Good And Evil

We all are well aware of the fact that it is good and bad; wrong and right; and good and evil around us. While we might find ourselves being trapped in a wrong decision or action a self-actualized person won’t. The reason being, they have an innate sense of what’s right and what’s not.

Maslow’s explanation of this self-actualization trait:

“These individuals are strongly ethical, they have definite moral standards, they do right and do not do wrong. Needless to say, their notions of right and wrong and good and evil are often not the conventional ones.” (Maslow, 1970)

13. Philosophical, Unhostile Sense Of Humor

A self-actualized individual has a thoughtful sense of humor. In the sense, they do enjoy humor but not at the expense of others. They also have the ability to laugh at themselves. The jokes made by them not only invoked laughter but also deep thoughts. Their jokes are not directed towards someone’s shortcomings but on humanity at large.

Maslow’s explanation of this self-actualization trait:

“Their sense of humor is not of the ordinary type. They do not consider funny what the average man considers to be funny. They do not laugh at hostile humor or superiority humor… characteristically what they consider humor is more closely allied to philosophy than anything else… more akin to parables or fables.” (Maslow, 1970).

traits of a self actualized person

14. Creativeness

Creativity is letting our ideas flow without any mental barrier. But, for a self-actualized person, it is a bit more than that. For them, their creativity helps them find joy even in the most mundane task. Their ideas are original, bringing them freedom.

Maslow’s explanation of this self-actualization trait:

“In this sense, there can be creative shoemakers or carpenters or clerks. Whatever one does can be done with a certain attitude, a certain spirit that arises out of the nature of the character of the person performing the act. One can even see creatively as the child does.” (Maslow, 1970).

15. Resistance To Enculturation

While a self-actualized person does value all demographics. They don’t allow cultural imperatives to define them. The reason why enculturation is not encouraged is that each culture comes with its own norms which rather than being accepted has to be questioned by a self-actualized person (think of Abraham Lincoln).

Maslow’s explanation of this self-actualization trait:

“Self-actualizing people are not well adjusted (in the naive sense of approval of and identification with the culture). They get along with the culture in various ways, but of all of them it may be said that in a certain profound and meaningful sense they resist enculturation and maintain an inner detachment from the culture in which they are immersed.” (Maslow, 1970).

Now it’s time to pat on your back for all the self-actualized traits you possess (congratulations) and now it’s time for you to work on yourself and develop the other self-actualization characteristics.

Don’t forget to share your checklist score with us in the comment section below!

More power to you…

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