Existential Psychology

Self-Actualization Lasts A Lifetime

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Debates rage about the best way to insure that children become happy, healthy adults and what we lose sight of is that these discussions imply that people have no power to direct their own development. Instead they’re almost viewed as products to be manufactured where what matters is making sure the assembly line functions properly, at which point the products will efficiently spit off the conveyer belt and work the way they’re supposed to work.

But self-actualization from an existential point of view is not something that happens to you, it’s a process that you consciously direct, and it lasts a lifetime. We don’t have to stop growing intellectually and emotionally, to stop growing as people, just because our physical growth stops. Most people are unaware that they can take the reins and direct their own development any time they want to, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this possibility always exists.

When you decide to take over the responsibility for your own growth and development, you naturally see that whatever happened to you in your family of origin is not the end all be all but instead just a starting point. Your early experiences set the tone and exert a profound influence over how you see the world, but you retain the freedom to respond to your set of circumstances as you see fit. Self-actualization lasts a lifetime, and when you decide it’s time to start directing your own development you won’t feel like a product of your environment, or like a static entity whose time for growth has passed, but as a vibrant individual capable of changing in myriad ways.