How can I realize my life

Self-Realization in Life - The 10 Steps According to Maslow

Don't focus on looking for happiness, instead strive for self-actualization

... and satisfaction (happiness) will follow!

Many of us constantly strive for feelings of happiness: in love, when eating and in your free time. That is, we see happiness as a result of emotionally joyful external circumstances. A sick person thinks, for example, that he would only be able to be happy if he were only healthy.

But how can it be explained that many rich, healthy and extremely successful people of Be plagued by melancholy or even depression? Why do we know many examples of high life satisfaction despite weak financial opportunities and limited opportunities for material development?

One possible explanation: According to Abraham Maslow and others, true satisfaction in life does not come from stringing together as many moments of joy and fun as possible, but fromstriving for self-realization in life.

How does he come up with what that means in concrete terms and how we feel about it Approach self-actualization in our own life in 10 stepsyou read in this article.

Brief profile of Abraham Maslow

  • Full name: Abraham Harold Maslow
  • born: 1908, died: 1970
  • American psychologist

Abraham Harold Maslow's parents were Jewish-Ukrainian immigrants and he was the eldest of their seven children. He describes his childhood as unhappy and without friends. He spent a lot of time in libraries reading. He studied psychology and is considered a founding father of humanistic psychology.


1. What does self-actualization mean?

Abraham Maslow pioneered the discovery of self-actualization for psychological research. He has achieved academic fame primarily because of his pyramid of needs (see article "My needs"). This pyramid looks like this:

The hierarchy of needs: only level 5, at the top, reaches self-realization (pyramid self-realization)

Maslow appreciated that (in his day) only two percent of all people achieve true self-actualization. No wonder, according to Oskar Wilde, it is about nothing less than "to fully develop one's own being". Nevertheless, the path to self-realization is to be walked by everyone without giving up or mustering the courage of a Hercules.

Let us imagine self-actualization as the ripe fruit at the end of an extensive garden. Already on the way to self-discovery we will be able to enjoy diverse and delicious fruits of inner progress.

2. How do I recognize self-realization?

2.1. Your own search, your own responsibility, your own path

For Maslow, the term was self-actualization indefinite and individually. Nevertheless, he has identified self-actualizing people and theirs Features collected.

So what is self-actualization? In principle, self-actualization is about Realize your own potential. So if you have a baby, you can strive to be the best mother possible. Those who were born with ingenuity may develop in the art of engineering, etc.

"It is good for everyone to stand on their own legs, these legs may be what they want."

Theodor Fontane (1819 - 1898), German poet

Included in this: Allow yourself to Giving up goalsthat have turned out to be too difficult or not feasible for other reasons. Once a path is taken, it does not have to be finished.

2.2 Self-realization = good person?

In a simplifying way, the vernacular understands self-fulfillment to be the greatest possible achievement of one's own desires and longings. See it as a ruthless living out of individualism. But here there is a lot of egoism, the noble ideal of "self-realization" as Justification for excessive consumption, selfishness and narcissism.

Maslow's view of self-realization, on the other hand, is based on the humanistic image of man - the Human being as a social being. Maslow looked aroundaltruism as an essential part of self-actualization, see the ten steps to self-actualization below.

2.3 Recognize and live your own nature

In addition, everyone has their own inner naturethat can only be changed to a limited extent. This applies in the context of self-realization perceive and to live. If this core is denied, dissatisfaction and even illness can easily arise. So it's your own taking individual needs seriously.

After Aristotle all of nature, and so also man, has an urge to realize and perfect itself. This is the basis of the beauty and vitality that we observe in nature.

“Those who do not let out the desires of the inside are called closed. Anyone who does not allow the desires of the outside world in is called established. He who is closed in himself and strengthened outwardly has the secret of the effect of heaven. "

Lü Buwei (around 300 BC - 235 BC), Chinese merchant, politician and philosopher

And if I see something as part of my being in the context of self-realization, which I do not want to succeed, which turns out to be impracticable / unattainable? He likes himself Leonardo da Vinci orientate:

"If you can't do what you want, you have to want what you can."

2.4. A Single Definition of Self-Realization?

The above brief explanations and quotations already show: There are many different things that are concretely understood by self-realization.The term is indefinite. Much depends on your own point of view on life - what makes it worth living. In addition, there is probably a part in every person "Faith"into it. Be it in religious form (e.g. the presence of a soul would have a decisive impact on the definition of self-realization) or in the form of one's own beliefs, values ​​and other convictions.

Interim conclusion: The risk of slipping into an egocentric life orientation or not, to be noted is:

Whoever strives for self-realization gives goal and direction to his life.

3rd survey: How do you recognize self-realization?

What do you think? How do you know that someone is striving for self-realization?


What does self-actualization include?

How do you see the topic of self-actualization? Why is self-actualization important? Do you have examples of self-actualization?

Self-realization Definition in DUDEN: Development of one's own personality through the realization of possibilities that are inherent in someone.

4. Criteria for recognizing self-actualization

“Self-actualizing people, people who have reached a high degree of maturity, health and self-fulfillment, can teach us so much that they sometimes appear almost like a different race of human beings. But because it is so new, exploring the highest realms of human nature and its extreme possibilities and hopes is a difficult and tortuous task. "

Abraham Maslow

Maslow has inter alia Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein viewed as gifted with a high degree of self-actualization. In his book "Motivation and Personality" he goes into more detail on their characteristic features.

Generally nowadays it is based on this following criteria as Considered a hallmark of self-actualization:

  • perception and recognition of one's own being.
  • satisfaction.
  • Loving acceptance of one's own shortcomings at the same time Work on your own personality.
  • A clear one moral sense for wrong and right. Yet little judgmental about other people.
  • No subliminal anxiety in front of the uncertainty, instead "embracing" the unknown and diversity.
  • Not dependent from others, being able to be happy even on their own.
  • At deep but often not so many human relationships Interested. Nevertheless, self-actualizing people identify themselves as part of the entire human race and feel positively inclined towards it.
  • These people don't get excited by the little problems, they always have the big picture in view.
  • Mindfulness, to yourself and to others.
  • empathy, to yourself and to others.
  • Instead of complaining about problems, the focus is on Finding solutions.
  • Instead of following all the fads one own line stay true
  • Despite independence, not aimed at a shock-inducing display of one's own peculiarity.
  • Also in small attentive and respectful.
  • Such people have "Summit experiences", in which you are really peaceful and in harmony with yourself and your whole life. These experiences are accompanied by deep joy and euphoria.
  • Orientation of interest to the deeper meaning of one's own existence and life itself, motivated through the desire for personal development.
  • Self-actualizing people have one taskthat they want to meet. A "problem outside of themselves" that they deal with.
  • you are humble.
  • But these are also not perfect. There are great people, says Maslow, who can still be depressed, angry, or confused at times. This should be recognized as part of human nature.

Do these criteria seem attractive to you? Now we show the path to self-actualization recommended by Maslow. It has probably never been easier to tread this path than in today's western societies:

"In our country, what people in many different parts of the world have dreamed of for centuries and many are still dreaming about has become a reality: self-realization in freedom."

Joachim Gauck, former Federal President

5. The Path to Self-Realization - Mindfulness and the 10 Steps

How do I achieve self-actualization? According to Maslow, the desire for this only comes to light once the "lower" needs in the above pyramid have been largely achieved. According to the motto: Hungry tummy does not strive for personal development. The need for security is also very important for the quality of life that most people feel.

If these needs are met, it is important Mindfulness and individual responsibility to develop and in itself too work.

The aforementioned criteria of self-realization according to Maslow already show the path to self-realization. The starting point and the necessary conditions are:

  • Mindfulness of your own inner nature and our diverse thoughts opposite (listening to oneself, self-discovery ...).
  • Mindfulness the fellow men across from.

blueprints suggestions for mindfulness

We have many articles on the subject of mindfulness on blueprints:

This then results in further steps in terms of aligning your own goals and activities.

Nevertheless, the following activities can be viewed as generally beneficial for self-realization:

5.1 Live relaxed and self-reflective

Regular Finding quiet moments, e.g. B. in the form of a daily 20-minute meditation, short periods of reflection spread over the day and / or seeking solitude in nature.

Synonyms for self-actualization

The following terms are sometimes used as a synonym for "self-realization": development, self-development, personality development, ego trip (negative)

5.2 Interpersonal exchange

Strive for deep and meaningful communication. Two suggestions from us:

Communication behavior

Communication behavior - exercises, tips and examples

With the way we communicate, we evoke wanted and sometimes unwanted reactions. It comes to Disruptions up to Conflicts. Sometimes they are realTime and nerve robbers.Please pay attention to this in the coming days seven classics - a colorful world of secret messages as well as the Inhibitors and promoters of success.

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Book summary: Friedemann Schulz von Thun "Talking to each other"

Here you can read a book summary about "Talking to each other: Volume 1 -Disruptions and clarifications. General psychology of communication" ofFriedemann Schulz of Thun. The short version was developed by Blinkist and made available for blueprints.

Who Should Read These Blinks (The Blinkist Book Summary):
  • Everyone who is interested in interpersonal communication
  • Everyone who communicate better yourself want to learn
  • Anyone who is easy sometimes feels not properly understood

Continue reading ...

5.3 End the comparison

Become aware and terminate theComparing with other people.

Our suggestion:

The feeling of not being good enough

The feeling of not being good enough - 7 ways to counter this fear

The fear "I am not good enough"is unfortunately not a driving force for improvements, but rather a Stumbling block and a sticky, uncomfortable veil on our soul.

Many know this feeling, that influences us sometimes more and sometimes less. The effects vary, but are rarely helpful. Negative thoughts, Blockages, unfair self-criticism, retreat, to feel unwell, uncertainty, low self-confidence and lack of courage to expand one's comfort zone.

Read here what we can do about the feeling of "not being good enough".

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5.4 Developing compassion and doing good

Seek empathy and Helpfulness.

Doing good - our suggestions

5.5 Be a good friend to yourself and expect less from others

The Reconcile with your own weaknesses and those of other people as well as using your personal strengths is another helpful step.

5.6 Appreciating the value of life

Another aspect is gratitude to feel for life and enjoy what one has. Not constantly looking for what is supposedly missing.

"There are two ways to live your life: either as if nothing is a miracle, or as if everything is a miracle."

Albert Einstein(1879 - 1955), German-American physicist

5.7 Reduce the quarrel with reality

acceptance the transience of all existence and striving. Yetsatisfied serenity with the current life in the form of Personal responsibility strive for. So don't think that you can only be happy when the children are big, the partner is loving again, the promotion has been achieved or the vacation is due. Short:

Don't postpone life until later!

5.8 A self-realized mind only in a healthy body

Pursuit of a healthy lifestyle.

5.9. Learning to appreciate and use criticism

Part of self-actualization is ending the defense of cumbersome ego games. If you've made a mistake, admit it, but don't castigate yourself with self-judgment. Your own individual errors must be (simply) clearly seen in the face and the effort to switch off these errors is part of the personal development necessary for self-realization.

Criticism as an opportunity

Criticism as an opportunity - become more self-confident

Whether privately or at work - criticism is important to understand and mature. But it is not so easy to deal with criticism, because some rules should be observed so that criticism can trigger changes. Because criticism is actually what really moves us forward if it helps the recipient to develop further.
Generally speaking, criticism should be brought forward so that another good onerelationship or better cooperation is possible. Whether you are giving feedback to your partner or holding an appraisal interview, the helpful principle is always the same. Try the following one best practice. You and the recipient will be pleasantly surprised and it also strengthens self-confidence.

Continue reading ...

5.10 Strive for high values

Striving for integrity and honesty - with fewer and fewer exceptions. Take into account: What is important to me?

Personal values

Personal Values ​​- The List of 120 Values ​​and Why You Should Define Your Values

Personal values describe, HOW we deal with people, want to act on the way to our goals and want to shape our lives. However, we are not always aware of these personal values. But since theyhelpful or hindering on the personal path can be, it is helpful to know one's values

What are your values Why do they promote self-confidence and what other advantages do values ​​have? We invite you to a short, simple exercise. Use the three-step guide to define your personal values.

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6.Download: Memo card on the subject of "striving for self-realization"

Here you can find the memo and reflection card on the topic. The card is in quartet format (6 x 9 cm), so it fits comfortably in a jacket pocket or wallet.

  • You have the most important points on the topic short and compact.
  • You can take the card with you as a reminder.
  • The short form makes it easier for you to remember the essentials.

7th blueprints Pareto tip: Self-actualization

A blueprints Pareto tip summarizes briefly what the most important suggestions on the topic are. It is a kind of memorandum that we recall on various occasions in the Good Morning Gazette.

Don't focus on finding happiness, instead strive for self-actualization. Try the10 steps to maslow to become who you can be. Become the one that your environment and the world really need. "

8. Books on the subject of "self-realization"


9. More on the subject of "living consciously"

You can find more articles, exercises and resources on the topic here on blueprints

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Written by Peter Bödeker
Last updated: February 28, 2021