Existential Psychology

Know Your Limitations

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When we talk about self-actualization we usually think of the process in terms of expansiveness, of an unfolding, of building upon potentialities to reach higher and higher levels of development. It’s kind of like the seed that over the course of many years grows into a mighty tree. In this paradigm obstacles might confront us but we overcome them and keep moving forward.

If we think of self-actualization in terms of fully becoming our Selves and therefore fully knowing our Selves, we can’t just focus on our expansive qualities while only giving lip service to our limitations because the two go hand in hand. Our limitations define us just as much as our potentialities.

From a self-actualization point of view the reason to become poignantly aware of what your real limitations are is that if you don’t you’ll probably end up wasting a whole lot of time and energy walking down one path that is a dead end where you could be using that time and energy walking down another path that takes you a lot further through the forest.

If you know your limitations then you know the lay of the land, you have a better idea of the boundaries, and you put yourself in a much better position to think of creative ways to work around these limitations. That inner yearning to grow is all well and good but you want to make sure you grow towards the light not the shadows, in other words in the direction that is most nourishing for you so that you can keep thriving.