Updated: Sep 21, 2019
Life is too short to hold yourself back from being the person you really want to be. Sometimes we are dormant and observing how things are. I first heard the term self-actualisation whilst watching a documentary about David Bowie. He was described as a person who had fully self-actualised during their lifetime, but what does that actually mean?
Abraham Maslow in “A Theory of Human Motivation”, described people as having a hierarchy of needs. His pyramid depicts basic needs at the bottom, then love and belonging, personal growth/goals, knowledge/skills and recognition. Finally an inner desire for self-actualisation at the top. Abraham Maslow described a self-actualiser as a person who is living creatively using his or her full potential. Maslow estimated that only 2% of people would reach the full state of self-actualisation.
I think of Kate Bush. I believe she self-actualised at age 14 when she wrote ‘A man with a child in his eyes.’ It perhaps seems too young to fully self-actualise, but in many respects the trappings of life weigh down hard on people and throw people off their full potential. Many, including myself, free as a child, start to build barriers, and raise defense walls higher and higher until the creative within, becomes restricted. Age 18 I painted ‘Light through the trees’ and I felt free. The painting is now lost, though it was without a doubt my best painting. I know this because during the process I lost touch with the outside world and it was only me and the light in that moment. We were one, and euphoria surrounded me. In this short moment of my life I felt closest to a self-actualised being, as such the tree painting is significant. The light represents my inner self...true authentic perfection, and the place where beauty, freedom, and the true spirit combine. I was free in that moment, and I have tried to find my way back to that moment of complete mental freedom. I am talking about the I, the potential you see in yourself, but that others may never fully understand.