Do you imagine that when you become all that you can be that you will be nothing but smiles and joy and love for every minute? I hope so, in an ideal universe, but that’s a very high and unrealistic bar to set for anyone, and it typically leads to more frustration than awesomeness.
You may be way closer to living up to your potential than you think! And… when you wash away the need to be pefect, you may get there much faster than you imagined!
Self-Actualization to use the term in the way it was popularized by Abraham Maslow who studies some of the more successful and fulfilled people of his day to create his psychological theories. He explains the term in this way:
‘It refers to the person’s desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially.
The specific form that these needs will take will of course vary greatly from person to person. In one individual it may take the form of the desire to be an ideal mother, in another it may be expressed athletically, and in still another it may be expressed in painting pictures or in inventions’
And to go one step further, he listed characteristics of the self-actualized in a very clear way;
Characteristics of self-actualizers:
1. They perceive reality efficiently and can tolerate uncertainty;
2. Accept themselves and others for what they are;
3. Spontaneous in thought and action;
4. Problem-centered (not self-centered);
5. Unusual sense of humor;
6. Able to look at life objectively;
7. Highly creative;
8. Resistant to enculturation, but not purposely unconventional;
9. Concerned for the welfare of humanity;
10. Capable of deep appreciation of basic life-experience;
11. Establish deep satisfying interpersonal relationships with a few people;
12. Peak experiences;
13. Need for privacy;
14. Democratic attitudes;
15. Strong moral/ethical standards.
Behavior leading to self-actualization:
(a) Experiencing life like a child, with full absorption and concentration;
(b) Trying new things instead of sticking to safe paths;
(c) Listening to your own feelings in evaluating experiences instead of the voice of tradition, authority or the majority;
(d) Avoiding pretense (‘game playing’) and being honest;
(e) Being prepared to be unpopular if your views do not coincide with those of the majority;
(f) Taking responsibility and working hard;
(g) Trying to identify your defenses and having the courage to give them up. (all from Simply Psychology)
I think I have a long ways to go… but I am getting there. You are getting there, too.
Even with all this awesomeness, the self-actualized are never perfect. It’s a scary thing to think that because you meditate and have a dream career that you can’t be afforded human moments of hurt, upset, or any other emotion that you deserve to have as a human being.
A man once told me I was self-actualized.
You would think he was, too.
He then went on to chastize me for being upset at something, saying that with my “high level of spiritual and self awareness” that I was wrong to behave in a way that questioned him and his behavior. He said that it was shocking that someone with my self-actualization could be suspicious. Hmmm.
I spent a few weeks thinking that perhaps I had a fatal flaw and didn’t deserve good things. After all, maybe I had no wisdom? How could I have failed to be amazing in a moment when I knew something was wrong and I was upset? Should I have risen above it, stuffed it away, ignored my intuition and played “perfect”???
But it’s the sentiments like this, the ideas that “because you do all you can to be better in life that you should be perfect”, that keep people from living up to their potential. Its way too much pressure to think that your every moment will be enlightened and graced when you reach some level of awarness for yourself.
Perfect is not a part of the plan to bring your genius and talents to life. Steer clear of anyone who requires perfect from you. It is a very bad trap. Its also worth cancelling the idea that you can require perfection from yourself. Nothing is more paralyzing.
Create your days in awesome ways. Don’t worry if you have a few bad ones. They are part of the process, too! xoxo Dana
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