Gratitude: Week five

Well, it’s the final week of expressing gratitude for needs found in Maslow’s hierarchy. This week: self-actualization. Depending on which pyramid chart you look at, a variety of descriptors are used to explain what self-actualization encompasses; education, motivation, justice, honesty, altruism, creativity, emotional growth; morality, spontaneity, problem solving. Boiled down, self-actualization is to realize fully one’s potential.

Is this possible or are there just many false summits of self-actualization?

How many lifetimes does it take to get there?

It’s funny, I spent over ten years of my life dedicated to a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower young people to realize their full potential. All the while, I denied myself of exactly that. Because it’s terrifying to turn the eye inward. For real and for the long run. Not just for a moment until you see something that scares you and then you switch back to trying to empower everyone else except yourself.

It’s like someone shuffled up the pages of life’s instruction manual and I was trying to complete step two before step one. Life worked, just not as fully as it could.

I’m thankful for the perspective I gained from all the youth and families who I served while working in the non-profit sector. I’m thankful to be in a position of privilege, and that I feel less guilty and defensive about that position each day. I’m thankful for the education I received in college. I’m thankful for the access to free knowledge I have via the public library. I’m thankful for every step toward self-actualization that I take. I’m thankful to know how to navigate the line between self-awareness and self-centeredness. I’m thankful to know that fully realizing my own potential means I’m contributing to the greater good.

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