The concept of self-actualization is based primarily on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist, theorized that human needs could be ranked in a pyramid shape. Basic needs at the bottom of the pyramid -- survival elements such as food, sleep and water -- must be realized before moving up to higher needs, beginning with security, followed by love, belonging, and development of self-esteem.
Maslow theorized that only when those basic needs are realized can people reach the tip of the pyramid -- self-actualization and true potential.
Individuals who become addicted to drugs and alcohol are often stuck at the lowest level, and may depend on drugs and alcohol for survival. Once that dependence is broken, often through drug and alcohol treatment or rehab, individuals are able to move up through the higher levels and become free to self-actualize and thrive.
Self-actualization involves positive growth that gives life shape and meaning. This includes the development of spirituality, which is highly personal and different for each individual.
What is Spirituality?
Spirituality is not the same as religion. This is an important distinction because individuals who have had a negative experience with religion may not like to think about the concept of spirituality.
Although religion can be spiritual in nature, religion is organized and typically involves certain customs, beliefs, rituals and traditions. On the other hand, spirituality refers an individual search for a life of meaning and purpose. It involves connection to the other people and to the world. A spiritual connection brings unconditional love and serenity.