We roam through this world driven by our sense of purpose that is typically reflected in our personal dreams. While some manage to transform those dreams into attainable, realistic goals, others remain trapped in their own vicious circle of self-criticism and self-rejection.
Nowadays, a great number of individuals keep striving for more, be it on a personal or professional level, but it always seems as if something remains out of their reach. So, they push themselves further and further while criticising their efforts and comparing themselves to others along the way, failing to see the success they’ve already obtained and the value they hold.
Self-actualisation as an internal motivator
Abraham Maslow, one of the most prominent psychologists of the 20th century, developed a model known as the Hierarchy of Needs, one of the basic forces behind human motivation. This hierarchy consists of five human needs arranged in the shape of a pyramid. At the very bottom of the pyramid lie basic physiological needs, followed by our need for safety, love and belonging, esteem and self-respect and finally self-actualisation. After meeting a certain need, we move on to the following one until we are able to reach the final need and become self-actualised individuals.
Self-actualisation is a major inner driving force that motivates us to pursue our dreams and realise our full potential. Thus, the need to achieve self-growth and self-actualisation is rooted deep within our being. However, not until you meet the previous needs can you become a self-actualised person, and one of them is the need for self-esteem, self-acceptance and appreciation received from others.
Self-acceptance comes first
Self-acceptance is one of the defining characteristics of self-actualised individuals. In order for you to realise your full potential, you need to accept yourself with all your flaws. Only when you do this can you boost your self-esteem, improve the image you have of yourself and accept others, too.
Individuals who aren’t satisfied with themselves often engage in negative self-talk. They criticise themselves for their shortcomings and mistakes and see themselves as failures even though their families and friends recognise their success.
Self-actualisation is based on your ability to see yourself and the world around you in a realistic way. Adopting a realistic view of yourself and others is not easy, especially if you’ve spent years criticising and comparing yourself to others.
However, with innovative approaches and different types of therapy, such as cognitive behavioural therapy and narrative therapy, self-acceptance can be seen as a way of guided self-discovery.
Hypnotherapy has also become a popular option for identifying unhealthy habits and even replacing them with positive, healthy behaviours. Therapists offer different approaches and treatments that can help you on your way towards self-acceptance. For example, a professionally trained hypnotherapist in Sydney uses therapy to tackle the issues of poor self-confidence and negative self-image. Knowing yourself better and being able to objectively asses your abilities and traits will improve your self-esteem, enabling you to move on to the next phase – becoming a self-actualised person.
Having accepted yourself and others, you can dedicate yourself to achieving your personal and professional goals. However, in modern society, individuals are driven by dog-eat-dog attitudes, constantly comparing themselves to others and trying to exceed their competitors. While a healthy dose of competition can be stimulating, constant comparison to others can have negative effects on your personality.
Instead, you should try to compete with yourself. This type of competition is much healthier as long as you don’t fall into the trap of self-criticism. Competing with yourself can keep you focused on your goals and motivate you to push the limits you’ve set for yourself. Not only will this help you focus on your tasks and goals, but it will also inspire you to demand more of yourself. This way, you’ll give your best with the aim of achieving your goals and attaining self-actualisation. And sooner or later, you’ll start seeing results.
If you focus on comparing yourself to others, there will always be someone in a better position, which can damage your self-esteem. Instead of letting others set the standards for your success, take some time to create your own standards.
Pursuing your goals is never easy; in fact, the more ambitious you are, the more challenging it will be. However, with the right approach, you’ll be one step closer every day. You should break down your major goals into smaller, more easily attainable ones. As you move from one goal to another, you should keep track of your progress, which will motivate you to keep going. Finally, always assess yourself realistically and try to come up with a plan for improvement. Never stop working on yourself.
The road towards self-actualisation, success and happiness is a challenging one that will present numerous obstacles to you. However, by learning to accept yourself and stop competing with others, you’ll be one step closer to realising your full potential.