Self-Actualization and Self-Security

  • Greene, L., & Burke, G. (2007). Beyond self-actualization. Journal of Health and Human Services Administration, 30 (2), 116-128.

This article focuses on the concept of self-actualization and motivation. The authors reinterpret the motivational pyramid composed by Maslow and note a common misunderstanding of self-actualization as an emphasis on the self. They concentrate on a phenomenon yet disregarded– the notion of selflessness, or selfless-actualization. Selflessness lies at the top of the pyramid, beyond self-actualization, and presupposes concern for others rather than for oneself. Such a high level of personal growth an individual can achieve only when he or she satisfies four levels of lower needs, such as basic physiological needs, safety needs, belonging needs, and esteem needs. (Greene, 2007, p.117) In respect of research work on self-actualization in its relationship with self-security, the article helps to understand the importance of safety and security needs for personal growth. Only when security needs are met, can an individual proceed to social tasks, which now acquire motivation. (Greene, 2007, p.120) Self-liking, self-esteem, and self-actualization as the main goals are unattainable without satisfaction of safety and security needs. The authors of the article then describe reasons and ways to achieve selfless-actualization. Among the possible ways of self-growth, they list education through art, management of polarities, being a role model and others. (Greene, 2007, pp. 123-126) The main hallmark of selfless-actualization, according to Maslow and to the authors of the article, is creativity. Moreover, Maslow stated that anyone could be creative and able to find brand new solutions to the problem. That is the reason for individuals to take initiative and create, which is possible only if the person has reached a corresponding level of motivation and self-development. In a world where everything exists in close interconnection and cooperation, it is essential to attach more importance to other people’s wellbeing than to your own. (Greene, 2007, p.120) That is why self-actualization is believed to be the best manifestation of personal growth. Nevertheless, it is impossible to reach this peak of motivational pyramid without basic needs satisfied first. When safety and security needs are not met, an individual feels insecure and is afraid of self-expression and realization of potential, out of fear to be ignored, rejected, and disapproved of. On the contrary, a person who feels loved, protected, and satisfied can move forward and higher on the motivational pyramid.

The article contains a wide range of clear statements and tips, which can be applied in practice, or be used and elaborated in further research.

  • Ivtzan, I., Gardner, H. E., Bernard, I., Sekhon, M., & Hart, R. (2013). Wellbeing through self-fulfillment: Examining developmental aspects of self-actualization. The Humanistic Psychologist, 41, 119-132.

The article highlights and analyzes the aspects of self-actualization and discusses whether the achievement of self-actualization depends on age or other factors. Building their arguments on Maslow’s research, the authors state that self-actualization is understood as self-fulfillment and requires individuals to leave their comfort zone and take risks in exploring new ways and possibilities. (Ivtzan, 2013, p.120) Thus, if individuals manage to achieve self-actualization, they are able to satisfy other needs and cope with challenges on a new level. Self-actualization appears not only to give its benefits, but also to be a tool for satisfaction of higher needs, such as communicational ones. (Ivtzan, 2013, p.120) The study, based on a massive experiment with two hundred and forty participants, has shown that self-actualization appears to be more likely achieved by older adults than by younger ones or teenagers. This means that self-actualization requires full maturity (Ivtzan, 2013, p.121), which presupposes that an individual can integrate into society without losing personality. Teenagers tend to follow the crowd because of insecurities and fear of being rejected, which makes them unlikely to self-actualize at such an age. Adults, on the contrary, have already satisfied their love, esteem, and security needs and can, therefore, pursue higher goals. Adults are also more confident and secure, so they are able to overcome losses and distress due to their life experience (Ivtzan, 2013, p.123). The article also highlights an aspect, which can be applied to the research on relationship between self-actualization and self-security. It is a fact that self-actualization can be achieved without satisfaction of lower needs. (Ivtzan, 2013, p.127) Moreover, some say that one can observe full maturity only when there is something of a child in personality, because children have some qualities which outrun those the adults possess in maturity. In spite of this, the results of the experiment show that older individuals have more self-actualization than younger ones. (Ivtzan, 2013, p.128) The authors suggest that this is connected with life experience, which equips adults with special knowledge and, thus, makes them more accumulated to difficulties and challenges. According to the article, self-actualized individuals are more likely to become successful, as they tend to be good at leadership, are highly flexible, and make creative decisions. It is also highlighted that successful self-actualization depends on the influence of the family. (Ivtzan, 2013, p. 128) The authors assume that children who grow up under the influence of their grandparents are likely to absorb their self-actualization by learning some qualities and values connected with it. They are also thought to grow up better in dealing with social issues, more liberal and tolerant.

The data provided in the article is reliable as it comes from the results of a professional experiment. It is also up-to-date and raises a range of interesting points, such as the role of age in the achievement of self-actualization, which can be elaborated in future research.

  • Otway, L. J., & Carnelley, K. B. (2013). Exploring the associations between adult attachment security and self-actualization and self-transcendence. Self and Identity, 12, 217-230.

This article is dedicated to the relationship between attachment security issues, self-actualization, and actualization of potential. The main aim of the authors is to integrate two already existing theories concerning self-actualization and self-transcendence. The results of the experiment conducted by the authors are highly relevant to the research on the interdependence of self-actualization and self-security. On the basis of Maslow’s theory of love and esteem needs and motivation, the authors of the article analyze the concept of self-actualization and its characteristics. They came to the conclusion that the only way for an individual to achieve self-actualization is to fulfill their attachment needs; as soon as an individual feels safe, loved, and protected in the environment, they can move on to more important issues. Individuals with high attachment avoidance or attachment anxiety experience stresses and insecurities which hinder self-development, exploration of the environment, and thus, their motivation and actualization of potential. (Otway, 2013, p. 223) The authors focus on the link between attachment security and self-actualization. The article suggests that attachment security promotes self-actualization, and therefore, participants of the experiment, high in attachment avoidance and anxiety, will be unlikely to report high self-actualization results. An increase in attachment avoidance presupposed a decrease in actualization of potential. (Otway, 2013, p. 225) In conclusion, only individuals with love and safety needs satisfied are able to concentrate on their personal growth and make steps toward self-actualization because fears and insecurities no longer hinder their progress. (Otway, 2013, p. 225)

The annotated bibliography example is well and clearly written. The essence of the statements can easily be grasped by the readers and applied by them either in their research or in daily life by making their personal conclusion out of the experiment results. All the data presented is reliable and based on the experiment conducted by the authors, according to the scheme they developed. Since the research is up-to-date, and the data is reliable, it can be helpful while making a research on self-security, self-actualization, and relationship between these concepts.

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