Beat the Survival Game and Meet the Higher Needs of Self Actualization

The first sets of needs according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs are: physiological, safety, social and belonging. We treated those needs in the article: “How To Beat The Survival Game And Achieve Self Actualization”. To read this article see the resource box.

Now we come to the “Esteem” needs. This level of needs is about being respected, or recognized. Being able to function in a way that you gain an adequate self image. Moving beyond any type of inferiority complexes etc. Here are some suggestions for gaining adequate esteem or status. Our focus will be on creating “optimal” situations that do not steal your energy. A surplus of energy is the best assurance of being able to move beyond the lower level needs and move into the higher level need brackets.

Find ways to contribute

Make sure these activities complement your values. The key is avoiding conflicts of interest. Also find activities that are low maintenance both timewise and moneywise. This endeavor will reward you with self respect and esteem. Recognition and admiration are important to both give and receive. They comprise a healthy respect for our interdependence. There are lots of “needy” people and it’s easy to find groups that help them. The environment faces threats that need correcting. Liberating social causes always need more voices to speak for them. You don’t have to become a fanatic. Just contribute in a measured and sane way. You will be rewarded.

Express your self creatively.

Find a medium that appeals to your nature and express your deepest thoughts and feelings. This could be something simple like a blog. You can start one free in many places on the Internet. Creative writing is a great way to stay in touch with your true self. If you’re into photography you can upload your pictures and talk about them. If you do artwork, you can scan it and upload it. Music is another way to express yourself deeply. MP3 files are easily created and uploaded with a computer.

After Esteem needs we move into the Being needs area. This is the actual frontier of true self actualization. Quoting now from Wikipedia:

“Self-actualization (a term originated by Kurt Goldstein) is the instinctual need of humans to make the most of their unique abilities and to strive to be the best they can be. Maslow describes self-actualization as follows:

Self Actualization is the intrinsic growth of what is already in the organism, or more accurately, of what the organism is. (Psychological Review, 1949)

Maslow writes the following of self-actualizing people:

* They embrace the facts and realities of the world (including themselves) rather than denying or avoiding them.

* They are spontaneous in their ideas and actions.

* They are creative.

* They are interested in solving problems; this often includes the problems of others. Solving these problems is often a key focus in their lives.

* They feel a closeness to other people, and generally appreciate life.

* They have a system of morality that is fully internalized and independent of external authority.

* They judge others without prejudice, in a way that can be termed objective.

In short, self-actualization is reaching your fullest potential.”

Ultimately, reaching your fullest potential requires a mastery of energy. Especially enough energy to be able to meet the lower level needs. The less energy you need to spend on the lower level needs, the more you will have available to meet the higher needs of self actualization. Finding creative and self perpetuating ways to meet those needs and to gather and preserve energy are what Optimal Living is all about.

Energy comes back to you in several ways. Money gives you security, food and shelter. From mature relationships and group involvement you get nurture, care, support and help when needed. When you learn to give out of your heart, you receive meaning and satisfaction. Engaging in creative expression keeps you in touch with your higher self and exercises that contact. From the aesthetic side of life – art, music, yoga,contemplation, openness and intimacy etc. you experience an increase in awareness, subtle pleasure, appreciation, admiration and the like.

My hope is that this article will allow you to establish a more clear vision for your life. That it will get your creative juices flowing towards “Optimal Living” ways to meet your needs and gather energy. That you will gain the momentum to achieve “escapevelocity” from the doldrums of a life of mere survival and move more quickly into self actualization.