What do you need for Self-Actualization?

This article by Saul McLeod is very useful for people who want to reach their full potential. But especially it’s very helpful for parents.

Carl Rogers (humanistic psychologist) believed that humans have one basic motive, that is the tendency to self-actualize – i.e. to fulfill one’s potential and achieve the highest level of ‘human-beingness’ we can.
Like a flower that will grow to its full potential if the conditions are right, but which is constrained by its environment, so people will flourish and reach their potential if their environment is good enough.”

“For a person to “grow”, they need an environment that provides them with

- genuineness (openness and self-disclosure),
- acceptance (being seen with unconditional positive regard),
- and empathy (being listened to and understood).

Without these, relationships and healthy personalities will not develop as they should, much like a tree will not grow without sunlight and water.”

The self-concept includes three components:

Self worth (or self-esteem) – what we think about ourselves. Rogers believed feelings of self-worth developed in early childhood and were formed from the interaction of the child with the mother and father.

Self-image – How we see ourselves, which is important to good psychological health. Self-image includes the influence of our body image on inner personality. At a simple level, we might perceive ourselves as a good or bad person, beautiful or ugly. Self-image has an affect on how a person thinks feels and behaves in the world.

Ideal self – This is the person who we would like to be. It consists of our goals and ambitions in life, and is dynamic – i.e. forever changing. The ideal self in childhood is not the ideal self in our teens or late twenties etc.

Carl Rogers believed that every person can achieve their goals, wishes and desires in life.”

Carl Rogers believed that for a person to achieve self-actualization they must be in a state of congruence.

This means that self-actualization occurs when a person’s “ideal self” (i.e. who they would like to be) is congruent with their actual behavior (self-image).”

“According to Rogers (1959), we want to feel, experience and behave in ways which are consistent with our self-image and which reflect what we would like to be like, our ideal-self. The closer our self-image and ideal-self are to each other, the more consistent or congruent we are and the higher our sense of self-worth.”

Read full article here.

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