According to one famous psychologist, Abraham Maslow, humans have a pyramid of needs that should be met to become the best person they can be. At the bottom of the pyramid are the real necessities such as food and water, and the tip-top of the pyramid is a little gem called self-actualization. This is the state of enlightenment. When you have no other needs to be filled, you have reached self-actualization. It can be hard to think about feeling perfect when you failed a test or just had a fight with your mom, but every day can contain at least few moments of enlightenment if you just know what to look for.
Are Your Basic Needs Met?
Before you can worry about feeling enlightened, you must be sure your basic needs are met. Are you getting enough food to eat and have a place to sleep at night? Do you have shelter and water? Presumably, if you have time to sit on a computer and read this, youíre getting the basics, but always be on the lookout for those around you that might need your help. Sure there are families around the globe that are living with no running water or electricity, but there might also be a kid in your class whose family is suffering in the same way. Youíre in a position to help.
Are You Safe?
The next level of needs contains ideas related to safety. You canít be in a brilliant state of self-actualization if youíre worried about abuse or your parents divorcing. Often you canít do anything about your own feelings of safety at this age Ė meaning you canít stop your parents from fighting or divorcing. But spending time studying your own beliefs and gaining trust in those who can help you might give you a calmer place to stand. Naturally if youíre being hurt in any way, you need to let a trusted adult know so that you can reach a safe place physically and mentally.
Are You Loved?
Next on the list if your level of love and belonging. Do you have a family that supports you, even if they drive you insane? At your worst moments, do you know that your parents would battle rabid wolves for you? Do your friends love and support you in what you do? Some people need a wide net of love and belonging to feel full, while others might relish and grow in the love of just a handful of people, or maybe even just one.
Are You Respected?
Getting into the deeper parts of needs, respecting others and being respected in turn is a huge part of reaching self-actualization. To respect others, you often must have respect for yourself first. And knowing that youíve made the right decisions and done the right things lets other respect you, which in turn boosts your self esteem.
Are You Enlightened?
If you have no trouble being creative, sticking to your guns when it comes to issues of morality and seem to be able to solve any problem that comes your way, youíve made it! Naturally, we all fall off the top of the heap, or pyramid, from time to time, but if most days you wake up liking who you are and the life youíre leading, youíre on the right track.
Use that confidence to make a difference for others. Help them to meet the needs that might be holding them back from this same, wonderful place that youíve reached. And as you grow even more confident and mature, you can use your creativity and problem solving skills to solve the kinds of problems that change the world. Itís totally within your reach.