The concept of self-actualization comes to us from the humanistic psychologist, Abraham Maslow. Maslow defined the self-actualizing human being as follows.
Self-actualization is the expression of your true self, your fullest potential, and your great capacities. Self-actualizing people exhibit the following traits:
Have a superior perception of reality — they see things in an objective, accepting way without intruding themselves upon what is being perceived.
Have an increased acceptance of self, others, and nature.
Have increased spontaneity in behavior — they can be unpredictable and outrageous.
Are more focused on the problem than themselves.
Have increased detachment and desire for privacy.
Have increased autonomy and sense of individuality — take full responsibility for how their lives unfold.
Are resistant to social conditioning. World-citizens not beholden to any one culture. Pick and choose what they like from culture.
Are comfortable being themselves even if that means being unpopular.
Have a good sense of what is real and unreal. Value truth and facts over beliefs.
Have great freshness of appreciation and richness of emotional reaction.
Have higher frequency of peak experiences. Being in flow state more often.
Have an increased identification with the human species.
Have improved interpersonal relationships.
Have a more democratic character structure.
Have greatly increased creativeness.
Have a deep knowledge of themselves.
Are constantly moving toward unity and integration of their personality and world view.
Are actively nurturing their talents.
Place great value on truth, beauty, goodness, uniqueness, wholeness, justice, simplicity, richness, effortlessness, and playfulness.
Are driven by positive, intrinsic motivation, not by lack.
Generally enjoy most aspects of life, not just achievement, triumph, or peak experiences.
Take pleasure in functioning at their prime.
Take a non-valuing, non-judging, non-interfering, non-condemning attitude towards others.
Are more loving. They need love less but are able to give love more.
Embrace conceptual dichotomies, polarities, and conflicts by fusing, transcending, or resolving. Are comfortable with paradox, contradiction, and not knowing.
Have desires and impulses that correlate with what's good for them.
Have solid psychological health.
Live on purpose with a sense of mission. Work is a precious cause.
Involved in improving the world.
Willing to admit and correct mistakes.
Have an easy self-discipline which comes hard to average people. Duty and pleasure are the same.
Gratify themselves moderately rather than abstaining through harsh self-discipline.
Express impulses more yet use less control. Controls are less rigid or anxiety-driven.
Are able to express their aggression in a healthier way, as a sort of righteous indignation rather than a lashing out.
Have a different, new set of concerns: being-challenges vs needs-challenges.
Live to experience joy rather than avoid pain.
Live in the present moment.
Make more conscious decisions.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: