3 hierarchy of needs to embody your purpose

Life is beautiful by it’s own perpetual state. But a meaningful life is above all. A life of purpose nurtures and thrives on passion. Even with little to hold, the heart remains full.

That’s why the worst thing that could happen to man is to live life without ever finding out what sets his soul on fire.

The way I see it, lack of purpose is a symptom induced by an underlying disease; unfulfilled needs.  

Fulfilling the needs begins with a clear, solid, unflinching, and prominent intrinsic need to be better than what you already are. 

Unfortunately, this is not something you can magically conjure up. But this does not mean your shot at realising your purpose is out of the question until the mighty kingdom descends. No. You mostly just have to meet your purpose half way through by paying your dues.

Starting with self-actualization

A 20th century humanistic psychologist Abraham Harold Maslow developed a humanistic psychology theory, the hierarchy of needs. The theory suggests that there is a hierarchy of needs people need to realize in their lifetime.

The more you realize these needs, the more you move towards complex needs with the most complex being self-actualization. The basics are physiological needs and Love is somewhere in the middle.

By definition, self-actualization is realizing your personal potential, abilities, talents, and strengths. Looking at different people, it seems too extreme to say that you can only self-actualize after fulfilling the hierarchy of needs from the bottom going up because all people from all walks of life, poor or rich, working or not, are capable of self-actualizing.

However, to fully self-actualize, your personal potential, abilities, talents, and strengths have to become prominent in a way that leaves you feeling completely fulfilled by who you are.

The hope is for you to completely appreciate life.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs to finding your purpose

In Maslow’s own words, “What a man can be, he must be”

When you finally self-actualize, It does not matter how far you are into realizing materialistic goals such as building a career or having money. In either position, self-actualization triumphs big and small worldly achievements.

It is about you becoming your most ideal self.

And while you can make yourself look like anything you want to look like on the outside, you can never deceive yourself into feeling fulfilled.

According to humanistic psychology, you can never disconnect yourself from your inner feelings and self-image, and that encompasses the definition of humaneness and self-awareness. Your fulfilment goes back to your inner feeling and self-concept.

3 steps to embody your purpose

If you are reading this right now because you have an intrinsic desire to develop yourself, great! As it seems, humans have an innate drive towards personal growth. It is this drive that births the emptiness brought by lack of purpose and creates incongruity in oneself.

From the image above, you can see that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs start with physiological needs. But, for the purpose of this post, we are going to speak on psychological and self-fulfilment needs only.

1. Love and belonging

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage” _ — Laozi

It is through being loved and accepted as we are that we come out and be our true selves. And there is nothing as nurturing as this. Because receiving love and belonging is a basis for transformation, ascendance, self-actualization and of course, living in your purpose.

Unfortunately, we make one of the most basic needs in life hard to have. We live life lacking the courage to go after love fearing what love is not. We think of love and we think of pain, unfairness, betrayal and loss.

Love is a human need that embodies our innate needs; community, touch, belongingness, acceptance and affirmation. Every living person is susceptible to the need to belong and to be loved. However you define it, we all crave the essence of love.

Yes, you are your own person. But you also are because of other people. Other people are your reality. It is other people who play roles that make you become aware of yourself. Through people who create spaces for you to be your true self and learn about yourself, you find your grounding position you can look unto the world from. 

6 girls lying on their backs eating lollipop and smiling happily

“Where there is love there is life” – Mahatma Gandhi

And yet, fear of pain, need for control, and lack of trust in oneself thrives. Because if you trusted yourself with everything in you, you would have no trouble falling. You would believe in your ability to carry yourself through any trial and tribulation.

I don’t need to tell you that you crave love. Whether you choose to admit it or not, you know what I mean by this. You get it. By virtue of being human, you know the need for that abstract feeling other people afford you.

This is not to say that you should make someone your purpose. But, allow yourself to be loved by people who create safe spaces for you to grow into who you are meant to be.

Despite it’s hardships, love nurtures. Love can have a ripple effect on your self-perceptions. Love affirms your purpose through accepting you.

2. Self-esteem and achievements

I had a friend once. He often spoke of himself with reference to other people. He achieves something? – the bitches are about to learn. He gets a girl – this is will shut the niggas up. He does something remotely admirable, the world has to fucken know.

Now, this was not a problem. To each his own. Celebrate your achievements however you will. The problem was that he did not maintain the same energy when alone. 

His achievements did not mean much to him. He did not have his shit together like people thought. The more this went on, the more it became apparent that this was a self-esteem issue.

What’s the point of it all?‘.

A black and white image of a girl with hands on her face looking into nothing

My friend was caught up in the tales of materialism. And to be frank, he is hardly to blame. It is what it is. He played into the system how he could and made the best out of it. Fuck the rest.

However, the problem with this materialistic world where people need to appear as if they are doing better than the next person is that self-esteem is not something you act out and then magically embody.

Self-esteem has nothing to do with achieving or doing better than the next person. It’s about how you see and feel about yourself with or without your achievements. It is about who you are as an individual.

Affording does not afford you purpose. Commodity is not a building block into your humanness. Your materialistic success can be an extension of your self-image but it is not synonymous with personal growth on an innate level.

Of course, setting goals and achieving them accounts for personal success. However, man is more than what he finds on the outside. Man is who he is as an individual. And it is important that man stays true to that in order to feel that he lives within his own purpose.

Purpose is not something you find and live the rest of your days doing. Your purpose is yourself. Your purpose is your needs. Your innate nature and who you are before your worldly achievements.

You begin to embody your greatest traits when you become content in yourself. So much so that external validation has no no say over your life.

3. Self-actualization

Loving yourself wholly; allowing other people to love you; and having a solid self-esteem grounded in your own innate positive self-image; it’s only right that you self-actualize.

Maslow asserted that people who self-actualize have healthy personalities marked by continuous personal growth. 

For anyone who feels like their life is purposeless, this is the stage you are ought to work towards. 

At the very core of self-actualization, is the idea of being the best version of yourself and being at peace with yourself.

So whatever life throws your way, self-actualization should ground you in yourself.

Often, lack of purpose presents itself in the form of a crisis. A sudden shift leaving you feeling like your life is missing something and yet, you can’t pin-point what exactly.

“Maybe if I was to move to a new place”. “Maybe I need to change my job”. “The grass has to be greener somewhere else”. “There has to be more to life than this”

All this can be true depending on context. But in the context of feeling like you have no purpose, the grass is rarely greener on the other side. After all, everywhere you go, you take yourself with. 

The problem is not the grass being golden brown. The problem is if you are perceiving the grass while in sync with your true self and your reality. How do you see and position against the world? How honest are you with yourself despite external influences?

Feeling purposeless is the sign that you are not in sync with your true self. It’s your own potential weighing on you. Your own potential prodding you to tap on it and use it. Which  can be hard to do if you are unsettled and not grounded in yourself.

You have to be true to self. You can’t base your purpose on fleeting world realities and expect to have an intact sense of self. 

Self-actualization traits

A list of self-actualization traits for people who know their purpose

With that said, you are not talentless, you’re just so out of tune with yourself you wouldn’t know what to do with your talent even if it was standing in front of you. 

You are not a nobody, you just lack a true perspective of who you are on your own. 

Something is not missing, you are missing yourself.

You are the purpose you are looking for.

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