Warning- A Bit Esoteric For a Friday. I Apologize in Advance.
I’m still stinging a bit- almost in tears actually over last night’s Longhorn loss and not for the reasons you might think. This ache has to do with what I feel for Colt McCoy. As I saw his mother in the stands- her face buried in her hands- I sat down hard. Colt was not coming back for the second half- at least not to play. And then, there he was- he was dressed, in pads, on the sideline- he was running, wearing headphones- but not playing in the most important game of his career. What the freaking hell was happening? I felt like there was a conspiracy and I was clearly not part of it.
While little G2 (Garrett Gilbert- we need to drop the Gilbert posthaste) went in and did a darn good job for being a child in what might already be the biggest game of his career (because here comes Case McCoy)- the Horns were deflated. I don’t call this an impressive V for Alabama- you are not the National Champions unless you play the opponent and Colt was the opponent- the team he lead was the opponent. The National Championship did not take place.
There is a reason for all of this- I got to thinking about Colt and what a win would have meant to him had he played. For many it would have been the pinnacle- but I think he runs deeper than that. It only took him three hours to realize (his words) “God has a plan for me.”
I woke up preoccupied with the way a pinnacle looks (literally and figuratively) and it reminded me of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The concept of self-actualization. Maybe you remember it from high school or if you are from a one-horse town like me- college. I’m going to try to reconstruct it for you here- keeping in mind this is to look like a pyramid- with self-actualization at the, you guessed it, pinnacle.
It is to be read and realized from the bottom up- as the items on the bottom are the most basic and motivating.
spontaneity, lack of prejudice
and acceptance of facts- pursuit of truth
wisdom and justice
Esteem- self-esteem, respect by others
respect of others, confidence, achievement
Social- friendship, family and sexual intimacy
Safety- body, family, property, health
Physiological- food, water, shelter, air, sleep, shelter
Clearly I can not make this look like a pyramid- but you are Clever- you get the point.
The theory is- you move through this process- are motivated by the need to satisfy each level until you become self-actualized (though his theory is a very small percentage of the population will ever do so).
Now- my questions regarding the above are thus- What would it take for you to feel self-actualized and is self-actualization even possible?
Now, keeping in mind- my education in psychology is limited to the basic college courses (so don’t give me a hard time, Pam)- but this theory resonated with me through out my life and I have gone back to it time and again- wondering, of myself- what would need to transpire in my life for me to achieve self-actualization and how much of that is being imposed upon me by society?
The correct- socially acceptable answer to this might be-
To graduate from high school, college, to get a job, to be promoted in that job to the top position you desire- to have productive “friendships” and relationships with others- to have a harmonious relationship with family members, to be confident and have healthy self-esteem- to know yourself independent of what you learn of yourself from others- to enjoy a monogamous sexual relationship with your partner (sexual orientation) or spouse- to have a child or two and to be able to sit back at the end of each day and feel fulfilled- accomplished- understood- valued.
Sounds really good, right? I wish I were that person. As Arthur would say (“Arthur”- starring Dudley Moore and Liza Minelli- read, I am old) “Don’t you wish you were me? I know I do.”Well, I do. I wish I were that self-actualized person. Is it realistic? Perhaps. For me? No.Why? Because that isn’t what it would take for me to feel actualized- and every single person is different- which means- everyone’s version of self-actualization is different. Which would make it difficult to achieve such on Maslow’s scale because-
We all give and receive love differently, we all measure achievement differently, we all interpret morality differently and, frankly, in some corners of the world- having food, water, air and shelter is actually achieving something- life.
So, I decided, as an exercise for the NEW year- to make my own pyramid. Of course- this, like self-actualization is a work in progress. What would it take for me to feel truly actualized? I have some ideas.