When I started working on my vision for this project a few months ago, I had 1,000 ideas, which is likely transparent given the nature of what I will be rolling out over the next few months. At first, the thought of themes was not apparent, but as I thought about my past, my weight loss, and how it impacted my life, themes started to arise naturally. Weight loss, in my experience, is not a one-dimensional adversity to overcome. The experience of weight loss on its own requires an immense amount of education, motivation, resiliency, perseverance, and so many other conditions of the human spirit. As I thought about topics for blog posts, I started to get lost in the minutia of language. Thinking about self-esteem vs. self-efficacy or resiliency vs. perseverance. Language is important when we are thinking about our lives. Having a language gives us the power to be able to explain our experiences and better try to understand how to overcome difficult times. Already, this research has brought me to so many enlightened moments regarding my own story, regarding the language of resiliency. As I have worked more and more through these themes that I will be sharing, I decided that this project is not merely about exploring resilience and the human spirit, but rather a study in finding ways to self-actualized.
Many of us are familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which I think is foundational to understand at any level of consciousness and especially no matter where you may lie, personally, on the pyramid. For those who need a refresher, Abraham Maslow developed the theory in psychology about our needs. These needs are progressive in nature and must happen sequentially in order to obtain the highest level of consciousness and ability in the human spirit; self-actualization. Self-Actualization has become central to my dissection of my own story, as well as looking at the world around me. Simply explained, self-actualization is the achievement of one’s full potential.
So, this week is about REVIVAL, but for this project and the exploration of these topics, it is important for me (and you) to understand the basis of where I come from. This week, although the connotation exists, is not religious in nature. When I started working on content for the project, the song that was posted on Instragram yesterday (Selena Gomez’s – Revival), it felt appropriate for both my story and for this project. I have allowed myself a certain amount of time to work on this project, and I think what will roll out over the next couple of months is a solid collection of inspiration and knowledge to explore themes of transformation.
THE LINE – THIS IS NOT JUST SURVIVAL, IT’S REVIVAL.
I would also like to disclaim that this project is an exploration. I use anecdotes (both personal and found), research (both scholarly/peer-reviewed and less vetted sources), and information in between. Although I have done my fair share of social research, this project is about pulling together resources from all places that have seeming validity. My hope is to create honest dialogue in hopes to enlightenment and inspire people to make positive changes in their lives, weight loss, or otherwise. For me, losing weight was a process of revival — I found new pieces of me that I didn’t know existed, I uncovered parts of me that I had buried long ago, and I found a strength that I never knew I had.
After exploring a variety of themes surrounding my own story and those that I have found to be similar to mine, I found that the progression of Maslow’s theory is the basis for so many functions of the theme’s presented. So, this week is about REVIVAL, but for this project and the exploration of these topics, it is important for me (and you) to understand the basis of where I come from. I would also like to disclaim that this project is an exploration. I use anecdotes (both personal and found), research (both scholarly/peer-reviewed and less vetted sources), and information in between. Although I have done my fair share of social research, this project is about pulling together resources from all places that have seeming validity. I have a strong belief that dissonance paired with knowledge can spark motivation, and my goal is to kick up the sand a little bit to spark some of those conversations.
Maslow’s self-actualizing characteristics
- Efficient perceptions of reality. Self-actualizers are able to judge situations correctly and honestly. They are very sensitive to the fake and dishonest, and are free to see reality ‘as it is’.
- Comfortable acceptance of self, others and nature. Self-actualizers accept their own human nature with all its flaws. The shortcomings of others and the contradictions of the human condition are accepted with humor and tolerance.
- Reliant on own experiences and judgment. Independent, not reliant on culture and environment to form opinions and views.
- Spontaneous and natural. True to oneself, rather than being how others want.
- Task centering. Most of Maslow’s subjects had a mission to fulfill in life or some task or problem ‘beyond’ themselves (instead of outside of themselves) to pursue. Humanitarians such as Albert Schweitzer are considered to have possessed this quality.
- Autonomy. Self-actualizers are free from reliance on external authorities or other people. They tend to be resourceful and independent.
- Continued freshness of appreciation. The self-actualizer seems to constantly renew appreciation of life’s basic goods. A sunset or a flower will be experienced as intensely time after time as it was at first. There is an “innocence of vision”, like that of an artist or child.
- Profound interpersonal relationships. The interpersonal relationships of self-actualizers are marked by deep loving bonds.
- Comfort with solitude. Despite their satisfying relationships with others, self-actualizing people value solitude and are comfortable being alone.
- Non-hostile sense of humor. This refers to the ability to laugh at oneself.
- Peak experiences. All of Maslow’s subjects reported the frequent occurrence of peak experiences (temporary moments of self-actualization). These occasions were marked by feelings of ecstasy, harmony, and deep meaning. Self-actualizers reported feeling at one with the universe, stronger and calmer than ever before, filled with light, beauty, goodness, and so forth.
- Socially compassionate. Possessing humanity.
- Few friends. Few close intimate friends rather than many superficial relationships.