Lorraine McCarthy, Counsellor/Coach, Human Synergistics Australia
The Self-Actualising Style is essentially a measure of our self-esteem. If we have strong self-esteem we are more likely to be effective and happy. Low self-esteem limits our potential and satisfaction. All of us respond positively to praise and encouragement. It gives us the confidence to be who we are, to try new things without fear of blame or criticism.
In this series of blogs on the LSI 1, I have worked with the metaphor that the way we describe ourselves reveals the relationship we have with ourselves. If our self-talk is always understanding, compassionate and supportive we are free to be the innately magnificent person we were born to be, to fly, to experience peace and joy in our lives. Being constantly off hand or dismissive with ourselves is debilitating.
Self-Actualising Style is the Style most strongly correlated to satisfaction. Many of the 20 items that describe the Style, depending on whether we give them a 0, 1 or 2, are either self-appreciating or self-condemning, thus satisfaction enhancing or satisfaction limiting. For example, think about the effect of giving ourselves a 0 or even a 1 to items like 'sound judgement or 'self-respecting'. We are telling ourselves that we have doubts about our judgement or don't always respect ourselves. How confident are we going to be making decisions or trying new things with this belief? What do we have to gain by being so miserable with ourselves?
My absolute favourite items are 'exciting to know', 'creative and original thinker' and 'unique and independent in thought'. It's a self-fulfilling prophesy. I am because I think I am. I can because I think I can.
We often talk about Self-Actualising as being 'in flow'. It feels effortless and light. We know ourselves, we trust ourselves, we like ourselves. We are optimistic and realistic, understanding the boundaries of our preferences and abilities. We know when we are at our best and when we are challenged. We are therefore able to resource ourselves when needed, choose what we take on, and celebrate when we achieve. We are likely to describe ourselves as 'confident and relaxed', 'energetic, active' and 'likes responsibility'.
Being non-defensive is central to the Self-Actualising Style. If we accept ourselves we don't feel the need to defend ourselves. The item 'very alive kind of 'earthy' person', which many struggle to understand, speaks to the idea of down to earth acceptance of self. This is who I am warts and all.
With self-belief we have the confidence to be open about ourselves, aware of our own feelings and not easily upset. To be able to be 'spontaneous' is also important. This item is often misunderstood with many believing it to be an ability to make on the spot decisions to do things irrespective of whether we really want to or not. In a way it is just the opposite. To me it is the ability to access all of our functioning in any present moment. As such it expresses the essence of being Self-Actualising. To be able to do this requires an intimate knowledge, trust and love of self. This is acquired by an ever present mindfulness in relation to ourselves, a noticing and appreciating that is never limited or qualified in our thinking.