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Do you self-fulfill or enslave yourself?

Do you self-fulfill or enslave yourself?

February 1, 2023

Have you ever wondered what happiness is? It is likely that your answer matches something material, such as having money. But it can also be the case that your answer is related to the satisfaction of an objective that you have raised, such as finishing a degree; or to get your highest wish, like living in Miami. How nice it would be to get it, right?

But, have you stopped to think if you really need to get it to be happy? What is the price you are paying for it?

  • Related article: "Humanist Psychology: history, theory and basic principles"

Speaking of Needs

From Maslow's Theory of Human Motivation (1943), author belonging to the current humanist psychology, human beings have a series of universal needs. Satisfying all of them would take us to a state of complete personal well-being and, with it, achieve happiness. To meet these needs, impulses and motivations arise. In this way, Maslow proposes a pyramid of needs.


  • Physiological : base of the pyramid Biological needs that ensure survival, such as eating or sleeping.
  • Need : more related to the feeling of confidence and tranquility.
  • Membership : social needs related to the family, social environment, etc.
  • Recognition : achieve prestige, recognition, etc.
  • Self-realization : peak of the pyramid. Related to spiritual or moral development, search for a mission in life, desire to grow, etc.

Happiness in today's world

These needs move our motivation. So, according to this author, happiness would be achieved through the satisfaction of all of them . And, although there are some controversies, it seems that the Maslow Pyramid is quite widespread among the population. The problem comes when we commonly mistaken the concept of self-realization with the maximum scope of our goals and focus only on that, leaving aside other needs or motivations.


The current moment we are going through is characterized by the collective idea that "every effort has its reward". In this way, the idea of ​​constant effort together with the competitive world in which we live, can awaken a similar one: "if we want to go far, we must be the best". And that's how, in one way or another, We begin to immerse ourselves in a spiral of achievement who never looks completely satisfied.

A very characteristic example are those parents who instill their children that better than the 8 is the 9 and that, despite having taken an 8, should strive to improve to get up note. And after 9, the 10th arrives. It's as if we have to always reach the highest.

In this way, we establish from the beginning some internal rules through which we categorize our achievements: important and less important. This labeling and the pursuit of objectives could be adaptive , because it gives meaning to our lives.


But are we really "self-realizing"? The moment we stop doing the things we like permanently to dedicate ourselves completely to this academic or work effort, self-enslavement arises, so to speak. That is, we have gone from fighting for our interests and our goals in a healthy way, to becoming slaves to them. We are gradually losing everything that also gave us gratification, like going to the movies, being with friends or walking in a park.

  • Maybe you're interested: "Maslow's Pyramid: the hierarchy of human needs"

How can we avoid it?

Some recommendations are the following.

1. Do not stop doing what we have always liked to do

While it is true that our work can please us so much that it almost becomes our hobby, we must try to have another type of alternative leisure that allow us to relax and disconnect, such as reading novels, watching movies, going for a run, etc.

2. Set realistic and sequential goals

It is the key to not frustrate us.

3. Take breaks

Not only to perform other tasks but, simply, to be with ourselves . Meditation can be a good way to rest and, in addition, it can produce many other positive effects.

4. Planning and organizing time

It is important to keep in mind that, if we plan well, we can find time to do whatever we want at that moment.

5. Accept us

Each of us has unique limitations and characteristics. Accept them and take advantage of your qualities .

Bibliographic references:

  • Maslow, A.H. (1943). A Theory of Human Motivation. Psychological Review, 50, 370-396.

Performing Therapy On Yourself: Self-Knowledge and Self-Realization (February 2023).


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