Life in today’s hyper-connected world is far from perfect. It is easy to get lost in a sea of conflicting messages about who you should be and what your life should look like.
While some personal development suggestions may be good, others can be downright damaging.
On top of that, you are most likely struggling to satisfy your needs and the needs of those around you. You need to perform well at work, have good grades, or be a good spouse, parent, or friend. The list goes on.
But there is a solution. It’s called self-realization. And it’s one of the most powerful tools at your disposal when it comes to unleashing your full potential.
The True Importance of Self-Realization
Self-realization or self-actualization is a concept as old as humankind. It has been a part of all major religions and philosophies throughout history in one way or another. It is a major concept in both eastern and western cultures.
Not all define it in the same way, although all have the same goal in mind. That goal is a peaceful, fulfilled life – a life of virtue and abundance.
Self-realization can bring countless benefits to the person who achieves it. It affects all twelve areas of life as defined in Mindvalley’s groundbreaking Lifebook Program created by Jon Butcher. Here are some of the greatest benefits realization offers:
1. Higher confidence and self-esteem
Individuals on the path of self-realization are connected to their inner selves and the world around them on a profound level. The depth and strength of the connection can free them from worries, fears, and feelings of unworthiness. Also, it lets them harness their full potential.
2. A sharper focus
Those who embrace realization are in touch with their true self and work according to their deepest ideals and values. They can define their goals and pursue them with more vigor and a sharper focus. Self-realized people quickly eliminate toxic influences from their lives, freeing up space for the good stuff.
3. Not being controlled by emotions
Self-realized people are not controlled by their emotions. Realization teaches people who embrace it how to observe, face, and overcome their emotions. Actualization teaches people how to gain insight into their emotions and become efficient at handling fear, anxiety, loneliness, and other emotions that hold them back.
Self-actualized individuals are more open and accepting than those who have yet to realize their full potential. They can communicate their emotions freely and in an authentic manner. This leads to deeper and more meaningful relationships with other people.
Understanding the Self-Realization Definition
As a concept, the realization is present in both eastern and western philosophies and religions.
So, what’s the definition of self-realization?
Among the many psychological theories and definitions, the definition by Abraham Maslow is perhaps the most widely accepted.
Basically, the western definition of self-realization is reaching one’s full potential, satisfying the full scope of one’s needs, and contributing to the greater good of mankind or society.
Eastern spiritualities, on the other hand, define self-realization from a different perspective.
In Jainism, self-realization is the removal of all artificial layers of personality and understanding the true self and the nature of reality.
Hinduism defines realization as the knowledge of one’s true self that is beyond delusion and the confines of the material phenomena.
Buddhism views realization as an awakening to the true reality.
In Sikhism, the realization is possible through separating the self from one’s own false ego.
What are self-actualization needs?
Abraham Maslow’s definition of self-actualization is formulated in the shape of a five-level pyramid. Each level of the pyramid represents one level of basic human needs. Here are the levels from the lowest to the highest:
- Physiological needs
- Safety needs
- Love and social needs
- Self-esteem needs
What does it mean to be self-actualized?
Being self-actualized means many things. It means to be in touch with your inner self and have a full understanding of your emotions and needs. Also, it means reaching your full potential in all areas of life and having deep, meaningful relationships with loved ones.
What is self-actualization in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?
According to Maslow’s theory, the self-actualization stage can only begin after the needs of the previous four stages have been met. To be self-actualized is to become the best person possible. It is to strive for your own greatest benefit and the benefit of others.
Can you reach self-actualization?
The short answer to this question is: Yes, you can become self-actualized. Major religions and psychological theories all agree that actualization is possible. The means to achieve it may vary, but actualization is possible.
The road to realization and actualization can be a long and difficult one. This mainly depends on your current position in life. However, with dedication and hard work, all things are possible.
How to achieve actualization?
For those who wish to rely on science, you can try following Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Check what levels you have cleared and what your current level is. Make an action plan and take it from there.
If you want a more spiritual experience, you can start your journey with meditation. It has been around for more than 3,000 years and it’s one of the best ways to achieve actualization. Meditation also has numerous health benefits. Some of the most prominent include:
- Lower stress levels
- Decreased depression
- Improved sleep
- Decreased anxiety
Along with meditation, you can also try yoga. This millennia-old practice works your body along with your mind. Today, yoga is one of the most popular forms of exercise in the west. There are many schools and studios out there, so finding one shouldn’t be a problem. Along with relaxation and exercise, yoga also has a number of other positive effects.
Self-realization is one of the pillars of a successful and fulfilled life. It will allow you to unleash your full potential and become the person you want to be. It will also make you more self-confident, mindful, and focused. Moreover, realization lets you connect with your inner self and the people around you on a profound level.