Self-Actualization, Meet Your Couch Bum
What does a self-actualized person look like? Act like? Sound like? What do they talk about? How do they feel inside? How do they enable others to feel? Were you answering those questions in your mind as I posed them? Were you comparing yourself to the answers and either confirming or denying similarity? Yeah, me too.
I like to think I’m a “self-actualized” person because…well, because it sounds good. Doesn’t it? I can hear my ego now…”You don’t need to actualize me!! I can actualize myyyyyyyself!” OK, so I’m having a bit of fun here, but honestly when I hear “self-actualized” I think motivated, I think driven, I think energetic, I think purposeful. I think traits I make conscious effort to embody. So how do others define it:
Self-Actualization (noun, [self-ak-choo-uh-luh-zey-shuh n, self-ak-] ): the achievement of one’s full potential through creativity, independence, spontaneity, and a grasp of the real world.
Thanks Dictionary.com! Achievement of one’s full potential. Well that sounds delightful! And certainly something many desire, right? Likely something you yourself strive for, yes? So have you attained it? Have you realized your full potential? If not quite yet, what’s getting in the way? I’ll speak candidly for myself: I’m still striving. And what typically gets in my way is being too comfortable and subsequently lacking motivation.
Ever feel unmotivated, lackadaisical, and generally apathetic towards doing…anything? Well, anything beyond laying on the couch? Where the internal conversation as you lay there doing nothing goes something like…
Motivated Self: Man, look at you. You should get up off the couch and go workout.
Stubborn Couch Bum: Yeah, you’re probably right. But I don’t wanna.
Motivated Self: But seriously…how long since the gym? Months? Maybe you could just jog around the neighborhood? Anything would help at this point.
Stubborn Couch Bum: Yeah, that sounds half-way reasonable. But I don’t wanna.
Motivated Self: Well, if you’re not going to work out you could at least NOT eat that ice cream in the freezer.
Stubborn Couch Bum: Yeah…but I meeeaaaan…it’s ice cream. Sooooo….I’m going to eat it.
Motivated Self: You should eat healthy tonight since you aren’t burning many calories with a workout.
Stubborn Couch Bum: Look. I hear you. I absolutely would benefit from eating healthy. But I don’t wanna.
In this example, exercising represents any action that propels you to reaching your full potential. Sound familiar? Well, that’s pretty much how my evenings can go from time to time. I tell myself to make the conscious choice to get off the couch and write, create, burn calories, read, etc., but my stubborn couch bum just keeps saying ‘I don’t wanna’…and I ultimately listen. So as I’m creating this article reflecting on my own journey of self-actualization I wonder why. Why does lack of motivation get in the way of consciously striving to unleash my full potential? Where does my motivation go…more importantly, where does it actually come from?
As I was writing out that little internal exchange, I realized my answer: my motivation is always here with me…dwelling inside. It’s just that sometimes that couch bum drowns it out…or rather acts like a “I don’t wanna” brick wall. So how do I walk over that stubborn bum to allow my motivated self to triumph?
First, let me acknowledge that chilling with the couch bum feels nice. And there are times when I happily make conscious choice to enjoy time of relaxation and contentment. But some days are different. I experience that internal conversation and I want to make conscious choices towards reaching my full potential, but that stubborn couch bum gets in the way and it all becomes this apathetic struggle.
When I’m chilling with my couch bum, I’m in this very comfortable, unconscious fog. Within the fog I find that I dwell in life’s annoyances and my resultant fatigue…and it gives strength to the couch bum within. What better way to deal with fatigue than having a bit of ice cream and watching the French Open? But the truth is, as I strengthen the bum, the more immobile I become…just drifting in the fog. My progress against self-actualization becomes stalled. I lose my conscious choice making and become unconsciously led by that couch bum. All the while, those annoyances and fatigue just feel more and more difficult to overcome.
So how do I get myself out of my unconscious drifts? By asking the Universe, God, Source, Mother Nature, Jesus, Infinity, Elvis…insert whatever words you’re most comfortable using…for motivation and remembering my Divine Right. I’ll share a concrete example of this process:
I was feeling especially unmotivated not too long ago. I spent a few evenings in a row coming home, eating, and numbing out in front of the television. After the third day, I explored the aforementioned process:
The Asking: I wrote out a prayer in my journal for motivation or a sign that I am on the right path with my life’s purpose. Once written, I held conviction that it would be answered…because that’s the simple nature of this fantastic God within. BELIEVE and you shall receive.
The Remembering: I embraced the knowing that I’ve laid claim to all my personal goals as my Divine Right: weight loss, spiritual expansion, creation and inspiration through words. They’re there. My Divine Right. I just have to get up and go get them. That’s it. Get up and get what’s already mine. Remembering clicked something in my mind: Those annoyances weren’t real and neither was my fatigue. They were barriers I (and my couch bum) had placed in the way.
Shortly after, Divine Energy answered. I received the following message from a facilitator of a Leadership Development course I had taken. I was honestly awestruck and humbled by these words. Words that I recognize flow directly from the Soul of the Universe, from God:
“I checked your website out yesterday. Let me just say wow! It’s a beautiful and informative site that reflects you – your wonderful transparency, your awareness, and living life fully. The world is a better place with the inspiration you’re providing to others by sharing yourself in this beautiful way. So glad your voice is out there – we need people like you!”
And boom! My motivated self stood up and smacked that couch bum in the back of the neck then got to work!
I share that example to stand witness to the process of co-creation working. My ultimate message is this:
Want to reach self-actualization but lack the motivation? You need not go it alone. You have the loving power of Creation within you and all around you. Ask and know. Know reaching your full potential is your Divine right. Know it with every fiber of your being and experience the Universe co-creating with you.