Self Actualization - Satisfy Your Real Needs In Life

Self actualization is about the attainment and maintenance of life's basic needs. There is much material available, on and offline, on this important subject. This just illustrates the importance of what we need in life. And what our needs in life actually are.

A more general look

Maslow and self actualization are almost synonymous. Maslow gives a list of very particular needs and in a priority and hierarchical order. The basic needs of a physiological, safety/security, love/belongingness, and self esteem nature. Maslow's basic principles of self actualization help to focus the mind - and gives us some direction to aid in the fulfilment of our needs in life.

My focus here

So self actualization is important in our lives. Here I would rather focus on the actual needs themselves. To consider what needs really are, and what they really mean to us and our lives, I think this will help focus our efforts and be of great practical benefit to us.


What are needs?

  • What do we really need?
  • What is a need?
  • What do we really need in life or for life?
  • What will help us further our exploration and experience of life?
  • What will help us to get to the bottom of our life?
  • What will really make a difference?
  • What does a need really mean to us?

While we all know what we need - and yes at times it changes from one moment to the next - knowing what we want and getting it are two different things. Equally do we know what a need really is? Do we really know our needs?

Can we define a need?

What exactly is a need? The following are possible examples of types of need

  • achievement of our potential
  • a situation in which something is required
  • a necessity - essential or indispensable
  • an obligation
  • to be in need
  • to be necessary
  • lacking something
  • requiring something
  • to resolve or tackle distress
  • a demand to fulfil an absence
  • an essential - cannot do without
  • a motivation
  • an impulse or urge
  • a moral or ethical drive
  • crying out for 'x'
  • to fulfil a lack or something missing
  • to avoid deprivation
  • something missing or mislaid
  • in need of

What is a need?

A real or false path . . .

Life would be easy if we had the path ahead of us drawn out in glorious Technicolor. That picture or view would lose (for us) a lot of the magic and splendour of life. The uncertainty, the surprise, the unexpected - they would be there for all to see and hence not be uncertain, create no surprise, and . . .

So it seems - life is a temptress. Life is a can of unknowns. A can of wonders, wisdom, great times and lesser times all flowing forth in time - our time - for us to experience and try to make sense of.

But life is not like that, is it?

Reality dawns . . .

What happens in the real world?

  • we want a real and authentic experience of life
  • we want to be a bona fide member of our world - and seen as such
  • we prefer some certainty in our life, but may not always get it
  • we like concrete advice and direction - this needs to be confirmed to give us something to go for or aim for
  • we need our world to be genuine
  • we need indisputable access to our world and our progress and our needs
  • we like the material - we can see and touch this; the non-material sometimes gives us more problems - though often permits us access to depth and wonders not otherwise readily seen or felt or touched when we only deal with surface activities or events or actions
  • we want positivity about the whole thing from beginning to end
  • again we need and demand a real experience, and also real and tangible contact with life and ourselves
  • we are happier and more comfortable with the substantial and the tangible elements of life

and it goes without saying that we require life to be true to us - as we try to be true to life

And how do we know if our need is the genuine article?

What is genuine? How do we assess the genuine? How do we discern what is real and good and positive, against what is false, bad and negative? We need to

  • trust ourselves and our own judgment
  • rely upon our own instincts and discrimination
  • utilize our previous experiences and hard-earned knowledge
  • fall back to first principles and the foundations of our life - should the need arise
  • depend on our value system - and amend it if it should not fall true to the way we really feel and want to live our life
  • grow and develop in these areas if we find that our abilities have shortcomings
  • get stuck into our self actualization needs

and how do we or should we validate a requirement or course of action or a self actualization need?

  • can we confirm the legitimate nature of the need?
  • do we find our approach to be credible and positive?
  • we should not let ourselves be put off in new circumstances or by the original nature of the situation in which we find ourselves?
  • do we feel comfortable with what we are doing, how we are acting, our path through the thickets of life?
  • can someone we trust vouch for our course, though we need to have the final say and the casting vote?
  • can we verify our requirement?
  • is our need temporary or longer term or everlasting?
  • do we sincerely need this or would be better off putting our efforts in another direction or activity?

and how should we judge or conclude our evaluation? Is it an easy job this self actualization scenario?

  • are we being honest with ourselves and not letting emotion cloud our better judgment?
  • what guarantees do we have - or is there a good fall back position if we should really need one?
  • is the whole enterprise a trustworthy venture?
  • are we trying to fulfil a necessity or merely a whim?
  • can we step back and reassess - and come back to it and feel the same way?
  • can we justify our actions?
  • can we give them the seal of approval?
  • is everything falling into place in the way we would like?

When do we know if we have an actual need or merely a fantasy?

I don't know about you but I can be hood-winked (or just plain fooled) just like the next person. When do we know when our needs meet reality? When our needs will actually benefit us and our lives? Benefit us and our experience of life? Help us to get closer to the realities of life and the inner experience within each one of us?

  • when we have a real and inner feeling of authenticity?
  • when there is a genuineness about it and us - when we are being true to ourselves and honest in our approach?
  • when we trust our instincts?
  • when the situation seems sincere and true?
  • when what we are doing seems good and natural?
  • when we are doing all the things possible to get to the root of the situation?

all or some of the above may come into play in determing our needs. When they do we can really feel that we are making progress and moving forward towards our promised land.

So was it general or was it particular?

As I started writing I thought the direction of this page would be quite general. Yet, as the words flow forth from my keyboard they seem to take on a nature of their own. Am I the director or the orchestrator or is life using my efforts or . . .

Big questions in life. Questions which can take a lifetime to fathom let alone get to the bottom of or understand or attempt to resolve. Yet we all try. And we all succeed in our own way, in our own time, in our own direction, on our own . . .

Director or directed?

Self actualization needs to be on our radar. We need honest self assessment of ourselves and our role and place in life. And equally how situations and circumstances gel together to make up our life.

Are we the orchestrator and the conductor? Are we the director or the directed? Are we in the driving seat or at the whims of an uncertainly programmed auto-pilot? Only we can decide and know.

We have some tough and some easy decisions ahead. What we make of them will have a real bearing on our life and how it pans out in the future. But my firm belief is that we have the wherewithal to meet the challenge of making self actualization a reality in our own life.

Trust yourself and move on ahead . . .

Share this page: