Self-actualization is used in several different psychological theories, but this week’s blog
focuses on the use put forth by Carl Rodgers who I’ve discussed previously in regards to unconditional positive regard. Rogers stated that “The organism has one basic tendency and striving—to actualize, maintain, and enhance the experiencing organism.” What this means is that humans strive to integrate all aspects of self: Body, heart, mind, and soul. This integration leads to the ability to be “genuine” in self-presentation, so that stating a though reflects how one thinks, feels, and is.
To achieve this there are prerequisites for self-actualization. These prerequisites include:
- A wish to be oneself
- To be fully human, to fulfill oneself
- To be completely alive, risk being vulnerable
- Uncovering more painful aspects of self in order to grow.
To self-actualize one needs to be aware of and okay with who they are, and being able to manage less “good” aspects of self while not denying or ignoring them. It is when a person has fully accepted themselves, integrated both the good and bad, and aware of both aspects of self that they can be considered self-actualized. When people are self-actualized their “ideal self” (i.e., who I want to be) is congruent with their actual behavior (i.e., how I am).