I’ve been choosing topics from my Instagram followers and I think this one is super interesting. I’ll be speaking from my own understanding of what self-actualization is; finding a fulfilling way to live life.
The aspects that I’ll be considering are: Going inwards, understanding your environment and asking questions. I’d also like to emphasize how important contentment is (again), especially with regards to having a healthier outlook on life.
The reason I repeat topics are for it to serve as a reminder.
Going inwards (Reflection, introspection, journalling, meditating)
Being non-judgmental towards yourself and others. This is something we don’t pay enough attention to. We’re constantly in a state of judging. Whether we choose to be conscious of it or not. Our minds are quick at naming, blaming, comparing, and judging. Ourselves first and foremost.
Going inwards constitutes that we notice the thoughts that arise. No attachment, just awareness. Treat thoughts like clouds in the sky. They’re always different, always changing, and usually unpredictable. When we attach ourselves to thoughts or judge ourselves for the thoughts that we do have, we act as if the sky is in a permanent state.
But how untrue is that? Considering that change is inevitable, we should be kinder in dealing with our thoughts. Let’s look at a few ways to do just that.
-Meditating. The reason we should sit down and give ourselves space to let thoughts come and go, is to truly realize how impermanent they are. This would constitute setting a specific time every day (preferably early in the morning or just before you go to bed), to just let your mind wander. No attachment, just observation.
I like to think of it as going to the gym for your brain. You’re training your mind to be more present & to detach yourself from distractions.
–Journalling. Oh hey, it’s this again! I honestly keep bringing this up because it has proven to be paramount in developing self-awareness. When you journal consistently, you gain insight on thought and behavioural patterns that you would otherwise just ignore.
Journalling provides a space for you to unwrap thoughts and ideas that are just floating around in your mind. It allows you to dump out unnecessary thoughts too, and clears up your mind. You also become very aware of trends in your life, that you can improve on or correct. I’d also recommend doing this either in the morning or before bed.
Consistency is the key to mastery. So make sure you try and implement both these habits on a regular basis, to truly reap their benefits.
Understanding your environment (Parents, friends, school)
Are we shaped by our circumstances? Are we able to change those circumstances? How much are we affected by our peers? How do we try to live up-to other people’s expectations of us?
Reasons reap benefits. Remember to keep asking your self important questions. This allows you to reflect quite easily on the person you’ve become. So let’s try and answer some of these questions, then dive into deeper ones.
A huge part of our psyche has been shaped in our childhood. This always fascinates me because that’s where we usually have the least control. Our parents, peers and environment largely shape the type of people we end up becoming.
We definitely do have inherent and innate talents, as well as some control in the way we deal with our circumstances. But they’re still influenced by the way we were brought up. Understanding yourself therefore requires unwrapping the parts of you that you never think of. The younger versions of yourself. The parts that you’ve evolved to ignore.
When we’re able to be vulnerable with ourselves, there’s no limit to how much we can learn. Just look at the past year. You’re nowhere near the same person you were at the end of 2018 (hopefully). Indulge in the lessons.
Constantly think back on what has worked for you. What hasn’t worked for you. Areas of your life that you want to improve. Areas of your life that have already improved.
- Why am I here?
- What is my purpose?
- How can I contribute?
- How long will I be here for?
- What happens next?
Start your day by refreshing your intentions. Ask yourself important questions. Think clearly of your vision. If you don’t have one yet, work towards it.
Now (Is all there is)
How can we use the present moment to extract valuable lessons from the past, to make wiser decisions in the future?
By being conscious of where you are now. By realizing that there is no way back, time only moves forward. By understanding that there is no such thing as failure or defeat, only lessons to be learnt.
By being vulnerable. Stop holding yourself back based on what other people are going to think. Have the courage to be yourself. Fully immerse yourself in the present moment by being vulnerable with those you love.
I spoke about how being vulnerable with yourself opens up doorways to learning. Being vulnerable with others opens up doorways for teaching.
Don’t fear failure. Don’t fear rejection. Don’t fear being laughed at. You are meant to live your best life, and achieve your full potential. Whatever that means to you. Take the leap of faith. Chase your dreams. Follow what ignites the flame within.
It must be acknowledged that self-actualization is something achieved through privilege. Only once your physiological and safety needs are met, can you truly start to climb the ladder. It’s crucial therefore, to be grateful if you’re able to start developing a feeling of belonging and high self-esteem.
To wrap things up, I just want to talk a little about gratitude. If you’re reading this, it means you’re probably high up in the hierarchy of needs. This is something to be extremely grateful for. There are so many other people who can’t achieve their dreams or pursue their passions, purely because of their socio-economic status.
Being thankful is the least we can do, alongside helping other people, to truly find contentment in life. I’m going to end by bringing up this wonderful quote again, because it’s imperative to this topic.
“You find yourself, when you lose yourself in the service of others.”