Since June when we took a mid-year look at our goals, I’ve renewed my interest in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I am particularly interested in the pinnacle of his pyramid, which is the self-actualization level. In fact, as I told you several weeks ago, this is going to be the over-arching focus of this blog.
At every stage in Life, we all feel an innate drive toward self-actualization–the inborn need to live true to, and congruent with, our True Selves. My observation is that we feel this most keenly when the kids are launched–or are in the process of launching–into their own lives. As this is happening, we may find ourselves realizing that we’re approaching the end of our careers. To top it off, we’re coping with the awareness that our parents have become elderly and will increasingly need our assistance.
We find ourselves stunned and asking questions like “Is this it; is this all there is?” and “What now?”
Suddenly, goals such as getting the corner office and acquiring the latest status symbols don’t have the appeal and aren’t as compelling as they once were.
The questions we’re now asking ourselves, which are centered around happiness and fulfillment, draw our attention inward and ask us to reassess where we are in life.
But what do we do about this? How do we shift the focus of our lives toward the answers to these questions–they’re too esoteric.
Also, we feel awkward–that it might be selfish and narcissistic–thinking about self fulfillment and self actualization. After all, there are people who are homeless, others who are starving, and still others who are innocent victims of violence. We feel shallow and a ridiculous for concerning ourselves with our happiness and fulfillment.
But yet…the Still Small Voice is more insistent than ever.
Self-actualization is the most important work each of us can do. It is precisely what’s needed as an antidote to the world’s ills.
As we self-actualize, we manifest our true selves. When we manifest our true selves, then we are playing our unique role in the ongoing unfolding of the world and the universe.
I know that sounds airy-fairy, but do you have a better explanation of why each of us is here? Let me know in the comments section below because I am always very interested to hear how other people make sense of existence and the world. Thanks!
Your Friend and Pep Pal,