phoniness, deception, and "games"--and avoid them. They cope
with problems, rather than avoid them.
They accept themselves and others; thus, they can honestly
self-disclose and forgive others' shortcomings.
They are spontaneous with their ideas, feelings, and actions,
being genuine and confident.
They focus on solving problems but their "problems" tend to be
outside themselves. For instance, they often have a "mission"
that may be difficult to accomplish but gives excitement,
challenge, and purpose to their lives.
They enjoy privacy, withdrawing sometimes to be free to have
their own thoughts. Occasionally, they may have mystical
experiences in which they become part of all mankind or of
They resist culturally prescribed roles, e.g. masculine or
feminine. They resent unfairness caused by social roles and
prejudice. They insist on thinking for themselves and
completing their mission, even in the face of social criticism.
They enjoy and appreciate the commonplace, the little things in
life--a rose, a baby, an idea, a considerate comment, a meal, a
loving touch, etc.
They feel a kinship, a closeness, a warmth, a concern for every
They are close to a few people, although not always popular.
They can live intimately and love.
10. They do not judge others on the basis of stereotypes, like sex,
age, race, or religion, but rather as individuals.
11. They have a strong self-generated code of ethics--a sense of
right and wrong. Their values may not be conventional but they
do guide their lives.
12. They are creative and do things differently, not in rebellion but
for the joy of being original and talented. They are clever, even
in their ability to be amused instead of angered by human
Unfortunately, Maslow assumed, without evidence, that these self-
actualizing traits can not be pursued directly via self-help. He thought
self-actualization automatically resulted when you met your basic
needs and committed yourself to a worthy cause, such as beauty,
truth, justice, love, etc. He believed that without a cause--a mission--
we stagnate. I think it may be possible to accelerate our self-
actualization via self-improvement. We can select our own mature
values and goals (see chapter 3). We can gain self-control. We can
avoid slavishly conforming to social roles and stereotypes (chapter 8).
We can develop tolerant attitudes (chapter 7). We can gain self-
understanding. We can do these things early in life.
Shostrom (1983), based on humanistic theories, suggests it would
be healthy to learn to express all of our genuine feelings (the full
range), not just selected emotions and roles in which we get stuck.
B. Response to be