Self-Transformation Series:
Issue No. 2

On Maturity and Self-Actualization

Table of Contents

  1. Why Important
  2. How is Maturity Measured?
  3. Qualities of Self-Actualized People

I. Why Important

A mature person is one who not only can face the problems and challenges of life competently, but one who is able to develop his or her own potentials to a higher degree than the average person. It results in fulfillment in living.

II. How is Maturity Measured?

There is no standard way of measuring maturity, but there are approaches towards a better understanding of what a mature person is. In general we can speak of a mature person as:

One of the most significant attempts to identify qualities of a mature person was made by the psychologist Abraham Maslow, who developed the concept of Self-Actualization. He speaks of four stages of human growth identified in terms of the needs: Basic body needs, safety needs, belonging, esteem, and the highest being meta-needs or Self-actualization needs. Self-actualization is roughly defined as "full use of talents, capacities, potentialities of an individual." Self-actualized people are the psychologically healthy people of the world. It will therefore be of use for us to study the qualities of such individuals.

III. Qualities of Self-Actualized People

  1. They see reality more correctly. They have a minimum of biases and attitudes that tend to distort their perception of things and events.

    Example: The chairman of a meeting felt insulted that one of the persons attending was sleeping during the meeting. The chairman felt that the person was not interested or did not feel the meeting important enough. In reality, the person was in the hospital the whole evening and had no sleep at all.

    The opposite of this quality is neurosis, which tends to distort perception of reality. Mature persons tend to be able to accept reality better than immature people. Immature people tend to rationalize, defend or justify himself or situations.

  2. Mature people are able to accept themselves, others and nature, better than the average. In addition to seeing things more objectively, mature people can accept what they see. They tend to complain less about things than the average. They can accept and face their own defects and shortcomings. Because they can accept themselves and others, they tend not to be artificial in their relationships.

  3. Mature people are focused on problems outside themselves, rather than focus on themselves. They are not ego-centered. They are mission-oriented. Usually, these tasks are non-personal or unselfish work for the benefit of others.

  4. They are detached and value privacy or solitude. They tend to be undisturbed by things that normally bother other people. They are calm and serene.

  5. They are autonomous, self-reliant, and not dependent on culture or environments. They have transcended many of the common needs of other people such as material needs, social approval, safety, etc. Their satisfaction comes from the growth process itself. They maintain serenity and happiness in the midst of conditions that can drive others to suicide.

  6. They are compassionate and sensitive to their fellowmen, a sense of universal brotherhood. From this arises the genuine desire to help the human race.

  7. They have mystical experiences, or the oceanic feeling. It is intense experience accompanied by a loss of sense of self, sometimes called "peak experiences."

  8. They have spontaneity and freshness of appreciation. Simplicity of nature. Spontaneous appreciation based on very simple values.

  9. Deep and profound interpersonal relationships. Relationships are not shallow. More capable of genuine love.

  10. They are democratic in attitude and do not discriminate according to race, sex or religion.

  11. They have a very clear sense of right and wrong. Not according to some cultural conventions, but to an innate perception of what is ethical or unethical.

  12. They are creative and have wholesome sense of humor. Philosophical and non-hostile sense of humor
All rights reserved. Copyright (1995) by the Peace Center, Theosophical Society in the Philippines, 1 Iba Street, Quezon City, Philippines. This outline may be reproduced provided this notice appears.
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Prepared by:
Peace Center
Theosophical Society in the Philippines, 1 Iba St., Quezon City, Philippines

"If five percent of the people work for peace, there will be peace."