Running Head: SELF-ACTUALIZATION Self-Actualization Destini Bridgeman Kaplan College Instructor Brewer Self-actualization is a part of our nature that helps us to become better people, by expanding our creativity, and making our experiences much more intense. It is usual for us to hear someone say that, “I quit. I cannot do this anymore. ” Some people do so because they are tired of what they are doing, and others may just give up on their dreams because of their own personality problem. It is not a good or healthy thing to do because in the end, people may regret for what they decided to do.
They may feel unhappy or even depressed. As we can see, in the daily life we are living in, people always give up on their dreams very easily because of various problems such as not reaching self-actualization or in their streams of consciousness. A famous psychologist Abraham Maslow has a theory which is widely accepted by people. “According to Maslow, basic needs must be satisfied before we can focus on those that are more abstract” (Interpersonal Communication Everyday Encounters, 2010).
Maslow came up with a pyramid that shows people have different levels of needs. Some of them are basic, and some are at a higher level. Our behavior of chasing the dreams can be understood. Maslow believed in the theory of self-actualization. “He was convinced that humans are capable of achieving high levels of intellectual and emotional existence, and he believed in human potential” (Self-Actualization, 11/08/2010). Maslow’s pyramid, a five-tiered structure, (Figure 1) represents a summary of this theory.

Maslow states that in order for one to focus their attention on the ultimate goal at the apex of the pyramid, self-actualization, and one must first fulfill the needs at the subordinate levels. At the lowest level of the chart are the physiological needs, followed by the need for safety, the belongingness and love needs, the esteem needs, and finally culminating in self-actualization. “The state of consciousness has no simple, agreed-upon definition. Rene Descartes, a French philosopher asked: “Is the mind, or consciousness, independent of matter?
Is consciousness extended (physical) or unextended (nonphysical)? Is consciousness determinative, or is it determined” (Webb, 2002)? Freud believed consciousness was unextended, and that a large portion of our brain operates completely out of conscious awareness Sigmund Freud’s theories on consciousness and unconscious awareness are being a counter theory to reaching self- actualizations. Freud looked for personality in the details such as the meanings and insights revealed by careful analysis of the tiniest aspects of a person’s thought and behavior.
Freud made a strong distinction between the conscious and unconscious mind. Freud believes we can bring unconscious to conscious. “He distinguished three different levels of mental life: conscious, preconscious, and unconscious. ”. People must deal with unconscious desires but also memories we put there. “Freud assumed that insight into the unconscious can never be gained directly, however, because conscious self-reports could never tap the cloaked and censored depths of the unconscious. “According to Freud, the unconscious is the part of the mind that operates outside of the conscious awareness but influences conscious thoughts, feelings, and actions. ” Freud’s opinion is we can only reach self- actualization when we deal with unconsciousness. Freud believed that for us to reach “self-actualization,” we must deal with our unconscious. However, certain factors stood in our way. Defense mechanisms were used to repress unwanted desires, impulse, and memories in the unconscious mind.
Freud proposed that the mind consists of three independent, interacting, and often conflicting systems. They are the ID, the Ego, and the Superego. As follows: “ID, which is part of the mind containing the drives present at birth and is the source of bodily needs, wants, desires, and impulses; Ego: which enables us to deal with life’s practical demands; and the Super Ego, which is the mental system that reflects the internalization of the cultural rules” (Psychology 2009). The id is the great reservoir of the libido, from which the ego seeks to distinguish itself through various mechanisms of repression” (Modules on Freud II: On the unconscious 2002). No matter how self-actualization is reached, the end result is still the same. Negative past experiences and unwanted desires are dealt with first. Peak experiences can only occur when other needs are met. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Figure 1)
References Gilbert, D. . Schacter, D. , Wegner, D. , Psychology. New York, NY. Woods, C. 2009. Viewed 11/08/2010. Modules on Freud II: On the Unconscious. July 2002. Viewed 11/15/2010. http://www. cla. purdue. edu/academic/engl/theory/psychoanalysis/freud2. html Self- Actualization. Wilkipedia. The Free Encyclopedia. Viewed 11/08/2010. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Self-actualization Webb, W. (2010) States of Consciousness. Viewed 11/08/2010. http://web. ebscohost. com. kaplan. uah. edu/ehost/delivery? vid=4&hid=17&sid=fcf6a1ba-8cd7-40e7-a846-fab63a3816fb%40sessionmgr10 Wood, J. Interpersonal Communication Everyday Encounters. Boston, MA, Lyn Uhl. 2010 Viewed 11/08/2010.

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