In the United States we celebrate Independence Day, on the fourth of July, in observance of America’s independence. It pays tribute to the origin of our country and declares our sovereignty as a nation. The fourth of July though, has become more about individual liberties and a symbol of human equality than a celebration of our country. There is a natural progression from the freedom of a nation to the individuation of the citizens within that autonomous collective. The same principles and desires do apply. But, the origin of independence and the group as a whole must not be forgotten or compromised. The free expression of the individual ought never impede another’s freedom within the collective or the collective as a whole. It puts the whole group at risk and it is not sustainable. This is the imbalance happening currently in our country.
As we approach the topic of true independence and the authentic expression of one’s Self, I will be talking about the characteristics of a Self Actualized person. Specifically ten characteristics that were first noted by Maslow and confirmed in current times. I will be talking about the stages one goes through on the journey of Self Actualization. And finally, I will talk about the energetic components of the Self at play in the realization of one’s potential. Diving into this topic, it is important to remember that true independence occurs while in the right relationship with others and with the larger collective. I think you will see how developing these characteristics, engaging the different stages of actualization that nowhere is it necessary to compromise others.
The Characteristics of an Actualized Person
In his article “What Does It Mean to Be Self-Actualized in the 21st Century”, Scott Barry Kaufman talks about how he has taken Maslow’s notes on the characteristics of an actualized person and puts them through “rigorous testing” to find that ten hold up. I have taken the list of characteristics and provided some pointers for you to foster these qualities within yourself.
Continued Freshness of Appreciation
- Approach all tasks with reverence to engage an active appreciation for the details of your life in the moment.
- Maintain a childlike state of wonder and awe throughout your life, you are not intended to abandon this posturing as you grow.
- Foster a gratitude practice to help you elicit this type of appreciation. It can help to reconnect you, particularly if you have lost touch with this natural state of being.
- Consent to receive life, as it is, without the need for diminishment or exaggeration.
- Come to the perception and satisfaction of life’s sufficiency.
- Release all judgment, it has the effect of repelling what is being received.
- Strengthen your energetic integrity; the unity, coherence and wholeness of your being. Hold this no matter what is occurring around you.
- Maintain your source connection, the energies from which you originate. When something is authentic it is of undisputed origin.
- Fuel all of your endeavors with source energies to ensure authenticity in all your actions.
- Maintain your composure as life constantly changes and unfolds.
- Sustain a centered state of balance as not to be too high, low, left, right, up or down.
- Take life in stride, respond rather than react.
- Be clear about your motives and why you are doing everything that you do.
- Show up for your overarching mission in life, it is your responsibility alone; no one else can be you.
- Consider the ripple effect of your actions. What is the ultimate impression you are contributing to the whole.
Efficient Perception of Reality
- Perceive life as it is, objectively, without personal projections or distortions.
- Always seek to find the truth and keep your conscious focus here, despite any fear or pain that the truth evokes within you.
- Keep it simple and real, resist over complications.
- Embrace your own humanity and cherish the value of this moment within your finite human life.
- Appreciate the merit in each human life no matter how small or large the scope of that life appears to be.
- Foster your desire to help others. Always look for the opportunities to support, enhance or expand another person’s life.
- Pause to feel the potentiality in life being realized as the new comes in to provoke opening and expansion.
- Make note of the times when you become aware of your evolution or a shift to a new plateau in life.
- Pay attention to moments of elation, connection with your spirit or a perception of something greater than what you sense with your basic senses.
Good Moral Intuition
- Be conscientious in discerning when an action is creative versus destructive (right rather than wrong).
- Consider the full scope and impact of your decisions to act or failure to act when it is called for.
- Look, listen and feel within for guidance regarding right action, do not rely blindly on societal norms.
- You are creating your life in each moment, do so with consciousness. Never posture as if life is happening to you.
- Regularly try new things and learn new skills, it will keep you actively engaged in the creative nature of life.
- Live with intention. Intend something, live as if it is so and discover the possibilities as they are realized.
The Seven Stages of Self Actualization
The list of stages is a reprint from 2001 when I was only a few years into running training groups. Self Actualization is a natural process that all are intended to realize. It is a part of the journey of authentic living in universal balance that naturally occurs as you awaken. It is an essential stepping stone towards transcendence of the Self. You must first become who you are and experience who you are before you can transcend who you are.
The FIRST STAGE of Self-Actualization is the CRAVING. This type of craving is one that comes from within. It pierces through logic, conditioning and the systems you find yourself within. This type of craving is inherent in every living being. It is often layered over and suppressed, but it cannot be destroyed. The initial stage of Self-Actualization occurs when you connect with this craving, you accept it, and you give yourself permission to become who you are.
The manner in which you reach this deep place of self is very individualized. For some of you it will be a dramatic, or even tragic, life event that opens you to the depths of yourself. For others you may feel a small spark within and a knowing. In our culture, if one has made it into adult life without Self-Actualizing, connection with this craving is often called a mid-life crisis. For many of you, career dissatisfaction or the arrival of your children into adulthood will initiate the process. You will begin to look internally rather than externally for a reflection of yourself. This will prompt you to make a decision to change your Self and live more truthfully.
The SECOND STAGE of Self-Actualization is the DISCOVERING. This stage begins once you have connected with your craving, accepted it and given yourself permission to be your Self. You will then dive into your Self to discover what is there. During this stage you will make distinctions about what is, and is not, a part of your Self, in a sorting process. The impressions taken from your experiences will inform you as they hold key elements about who you are. You will then begin to ascend the experience and gain knowledge about the impetus behind it, bringing the awareness full circle.
During this stage, you will often try new things or return to activities left behind earlier in your life. You will also let go of formerly important activities. Some of these activities will never be reintegrated into your life because you have ascended the experience. Others, if they are a true expression of who you are, will be reengaged at a later time. You will begin to discover and know, with unshakable certainty, aspects of who you are. This knowing can come in many forms. It can be as simple as a feeling, or as complex as a visible picture formed by a series of events which cross the lives of many people.
The THIRD STAGE of Self-Actualization is the UNFOLDING. This stage is when you will feel excitement. The journey of sorting who you are, ascending your previous experiences and connection with the impetus of the discovery phase has propelled you forward. Now your perspective shifts from external learning to internal observations. You will explore the layers of your Self, in their depth. An understanding of the principles of your Self will begin to emerge. This becomes the foundation upon which all else is built.
The third stage is often filled with many “trial” experiences, which provide you with different perspectives on the various parts of who you are. You will move through the many layers of your Self. This may take the form of opening to different areas of life. The key here is your inner experience, the feelings and observations that you make regarding your outer experiences. You may try certain things that you find hold just a small piece of a much more complex picture, these are the ones to explore further. Imagine you have a key that opens a doorway leading to a world you never knew existed and the only entrance in is the key, in this analogy you can begin to understand the principles of the Self.
The FOURTH STAGE of Self-Actualization is to GENERATE. With a strong foundation in place, the strength of which is determined by the previous stage, your perspective and understanding of the layers and principles of the Self will begin to develop. This stage, in which you may generate your Self, starts with an initiation. Expression from your Self begins, and you develop skills for bringing out what is deep within you. Production of energy is essential for moving through this stage. It is a working stage.
This stage is when you have the feeling, “this is what I am supposed to do with my life” and you begin to manifest it. You are clearing the path and doing the groundwork for what will come. You may spend significant time focused on different skills that you will need in order to move forward. You may also spend time strengthening and clearing many levels to allow the necessary energy to move through. There is an infinite source of energy that you can tap into and you determine the amount that you allow in.
The FIFTH STAGE of Self-Actualization is to ARRANGE. This stage is when order begins to come into your expression, skills, and the energy of the previous stage. There is an organization of who you are. The main components of your Self begin to be defined. Awareness of the complexity of the interaction between your components and the joining points come in.
This stage is always marked by a significant change within your Self and is often marked by a significant change in your life. A move, a job change, a relationship shift, or a graduation from school, are some examples. You begin to understand the components that make up who you are. With the changes that come there is a shuffling of components into a more appropriate organization. Key points join to form the nature of your life.
The SIXTH STAGE of Self-Actualization is the PROCREATION. This stage occurs when the beginning meets the end and the circle of who you are, becomes complete. The organization, components and points of the previous stage synthesize into a wholeness of Self. The creation process is received and drawn into the Self. Through this process the imprint is made but it lays latent until the next stage happens.
This stage is a passageway, and it can happen in a moment or last for lifetimes. It is when everything comes into a sphere. It all suddenly makes sense and fits together perfectly. All is possible in the reception to creation, and it is determined in this place of mystery what your imprint will be. It is a completion of what was and a beginning of what is to come. Time stands still and the depth of imprint will determine the depth of your experience.
The SEVENTH STAGE of Self-Actualization is the ACTUALIZATION. This stage happens when your imprint made in the previous stage is activated. Your Self begins to take form and shape. A reflection in which you may perceive the actualization is present. The evolution of your Self begins and continues until you transcend the Self.
Your Self is becoming your Self. A life lived as an expression of this stage of being is beautiful and flawless, the perfection within all imperfection is known. Life is the creation process unfolding before your eyes. You begin to know your Creator as you know your Self. And all is within love.
To actualize is to become a light in the darkness.
The Energetics of Self Actualization
Actualizing one’s authentic Self is what I refer to as “THE WORK”. It involves learning life lessons, experiencing the full sensory pallet of life, relationships, creation and co creation. To accomplish this you must overcome your challenges, personal limitations and resistance. You must release attachments and expand beyond your conditioning to evolve into the full potential of who you are.
The journey of Self Actualization is a shift from potential Self (point A) to actual Self (point B). There is a change in your Self that occurs over time. The energetics of the Self within the unfolding of time contains four of the 24 Life Components; your Essence, Soul, Gifts and Personality. In this section, I will be touching upon the changes that occur within each part of your Self as you actualize your potential.
Your Essence is your unique light array that contains the potential of you. It exists within the deepest part of you, largely unseen by others. As you Self Actualize your light becomes more and more brilliant. There is an expansion that occurs in the expression of your light. It shifts from the infinite density of a black hole with zero dimensionality and pure potentiality to a brilliant sun shining through the form of your Self and out into the world.
Your Soul provides a home for your light, it is like your own personal lighthouse. When you Self Actualize your Soul crystalizes. This happens as you learn your Soul lessons. Soul lessons are pre-set within your Soul structure. They are like doorways to your Essence. Once activated a Soul lesson will magnetize life events designed to teach you what you came to learn. Once a lesson is learned that part of your Soul crystalizes, holding a unique shape and form while opening the door to allow the light of your Essence to shine through.
Your Gifts are essentially your natural abilities or qualities. Your Gifts are an outer world mirror reflection of your inner world Soul structure. If your Soul took the form of a movie reel, your gifts would be the shapes projected onto the screen. As you Self Actualize the picture of you expands and your scope increases. Your Gifts come into view with a steady sharpening of focus. The shape of who you are becomes more defined and the distinction of your natural abilities more pronounced.
As you Self Actualize your Personality becomes a pure emanation of your light. Your Self as a whole becomes a vehicle for the expression of your Essence and your nature as a light being. The density and constriction of your conditioning, as well as fear and resistance all clear out to reveal the deeper parts of you. In my blog post, Attract The Life You Want With Your Magnetic Personality, I talk about the electromagnetic nature of your Self. I encourage you to check it out. It further discusses the energetics of the Self and it explains how you attract or magnetize the experiences that you need to evolve.