Psychoanalysis

Self-Actualization Means Personal Responsibility

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As obvious as this may sound, if you are interested in self-actualization then it means you have to take personal responsibility for your own growth. You can’t expect other people to get the job done for you because it’s a project demanding insider information that only you have access to and behaviors that can only you can enact.

Many attempt to farm out their self-actualization to other people in their lives, to teachers, psychologists, friends, or family members. They shift the responsibility for their development onto these people and then get disappointed in them if they don’t like how things turn out. Psychologically speaking it’s pretty easy to see what this strategy accomplishes.

When you make someone else responsible for your success then you don’t have to deal with the potent pain of failure. You have a ready made scapegoat to shoulder that burden, a person who did play some role in helping you along in your life journey and therefore acts as an ideal candidate for your projection, since your rationalization that it is this person’s fault seems plausible.

The fact is that others might show us how to fly but we’re the ones who have to flap our wings and choose the flight path. There’s nothing wrong with getting help and no one would survive long without it, but when you put all the responsibility for your success onto these helpers you rob yourself of the chance to develop into who you really are by having the final say over which way you go, and you rob yourself of the chance to feel proud of your own accomplishments. It follows that if the helpers in your life are responsible for your failures then they’re responsible for your successes too.

Self-Actualization is ultimately a one person job. Take what you can from the people in your life who are willing and able to help you get where you need to go but remember that it’s your journey not theirs and therefore your responsibility not theirs.

Greetings I'm Michael, the owner of Evolution Counseling and the author of all the articles on this site. I got my master's degree from Seattle University in community mental heath counseling and have committed myself to advancing my knowledge of psychology and to evolving my own philosophical system ever since. In addition to the content on this site I offer online coaching using Skype. If you'd like to learn more about it click on the online coaching tab or if you think you'd like to set up a session send me an email at evolve@evolutioncounseling.com.

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