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OK .. now you've all discovered MBTI, discovered you're INFJ's and have found a group of friends online to discuss your personal problems etc.

But what about personal growth and self-actualization?

What Is Self-Actualization?

What exactly is self-actualization? Located at the peak of Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy, he described this high-level need in the following way:

"What a man can be, he must be. This need we may call self-actualization…It refers to the desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially. This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming."1
While Maslow’s theory is generally portrayed as a fairly rigid hierarchy, Maslow noted that the order in which these needs are fulfilled does not always follow this standard progression.1 For example, he notes that for some individuals, the need for self-esteem is more important than the need for love. For others, the need for creative fulfillment may supersede even the most basic needs.

Characteristics of Self-Actualized People

In addition to describing what is meant by self-actualization in his theory, Maslow also identified some of the key characteristics of self-actualized people:

Acceptance and Realism: Self-actualized people have realistic perceptions of themselves, others and the world around them.

Problem-centering: Self-actualized individuals are concerned with solving problems outside of themselves, including helping others and finding solutions to problems in the external world. These people are often motivated by a sense of personal responsibility and ethics.

Spontaneity: Self-actualized people are spontaneous in their internal thoughts and outward behavior. While they can conform to rules and social expectations, they also tend to be open and unconventional.

Autonomy and Solitude: Another characteristics of self-actualized people is the need for independence and privacy. While they enjoy the company of others, these individuals need time to focus on developing their own individual potential.

Continued Freshness of Appreciation: Self-actualized people tend to view the world with a continual sense of appreciation, wonder and awe. Even simple experiences continue to be a source of inspiration and pleasure.

Peak Experiences: Individuals who are self-actualized often have what Maslow termed peak experiences, or moments of intense joy, wonder, awe and ecstasy. After these experiences, people feel inspired, strengthened, renewed or transformed.3
Learn more in this article about the characteristics of self-actualized people.

Self-Actualization - What Is Self Actualization

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INFJ Personal Growth

Allowing Your INFJ Strengths to Flourish

As an INFJ, you have gifts that are specific to your personality type that aren't natural strengths for other types. By recognizing your special gifts and encouraging their growth and development, you will more readily see your place in the world, and be more content with your role.

Nearly all INFJs will recognize the following characteristics in themselves. They should embrace and nourish these strengths:

  • They're extremely insightful, and see things that are not obvious to others. This ability to see patterns and meanings in the world can help the INFJ in many different ways. INFJs usually have a great deal of insight into different people and situations.
  • When given a goal or context, an INFJ is able to generate all kinds of possibilities. They're able to see the problem from many different angles.
  • They understand how others are feeling, and are genuinely concerned with others. This natural empathy and caring helps to be really effective at helping others through problems. In this manner, they make great friends, counselors, teachers, and mates.
  • An INFJ has a "stick to it" attitude. They're not afraid of hard work, and will put forth a great deal of effort towards something that they believe in. This persistence will help the INFJ to achieve an identified goal.
  • Perfectionistic and idealistic, they always strive for the best.
  • Usually intelligent and able to concentrate and focus, the INFJ can usually grasp difficult ideas and concepts.
Ten Rules to Live By to Achieve INFJ Success

  • Feed Your Strengths! Do things that allow your brilliant intuition and service-oriented manner to flourish.
  • Face Your Weaknesses! See your weaknesses for what they are, and seek to overcome them. Especially, strive to use your judgment against your internal ideas and intuitions, rather than as a means of disregarding other people's ideas.
  • Talk Through Your Thoughts. You need to step through your intuitions in order to put them into perspective. Give yourself time to do this, and take advantage of discussing ideas with others. You'll find externalizing your internal intuitions to be a valuable exercise.
  • Take in Everything. Don't dismiss ideas prematurely because you don't respect the person generating the ideas, or because you think you already know it all. After all, everybody has something to offer, and nobody knows everything. Steven Covey says it so well when he says: "Seek first to understand, and then to be understood."
  • When You Get Angry, You Lose. Your passion and intensity are strong assets, but can be very harmful if you allow yourself to fall into the "Anger Trap". Remember that Anger is destructive to your personal relationships. Work through your anger before you impress it upon others, or you will likely find yourself alone. Disagreements and disappointments can only be handled effectively in a non-personal and dispassionate manner.
  • Keep Your Eye on the Big Picture Watch out for your tendency to become obsessed with details. If you find yourself feeling very, very strongly about a small detail, take a big step back and make sure that you can still see the goal. You're not going to get there if you get mired in the details.
  • Be Accountable for Yourself. Don't blame the problems in your life on other people. Look inwardly for solutions. No one has more control over your life than you have.
  • Be Humble. Judge yourself at least as harshly as you judge others.
  • Assume the Best. Don't distress yourself and others by dwelling on the dark side of everything. Just as there is a positive charge for every negative charge, there is a light side to every dark side. Remember that positive situations are created by positive attitudes. Expect the best, and the best will come forward.
  • Relax! Do yourself a favor and learn how to effectively unwind. Get exercise and restful sleep. Take vacations. Engage in relaxing activities. Take care of yourself and your loved ones by learning to let go of your passion and intensity for a respite.
INFJ Personal Growth
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Combining the two theories about personal growth, where do you stand in terms of self-actualization?

What are some of the ways in which you actualize yourselves as INFJs?

Seeing the above, in which areas do you see yourselves growing and how to you plan to set about doing so?

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I feel like I'm as close to that point as one can get. I can't actually claim to be finished with my self-actualization because that would mean the end of growth. I feel like it is an ever evolving process. But having said that, I feel like I've certainly completed the circle back towards childhood. Let me read you a quote from the book I just finished today because it will explain it better than I can:

It starts when we are children, helpless but aware of things, enjoying what is around us. Then we reach adolescence, still helpless but trying to at least appear independent. When we outgrow that stage, we become adults--self-sufficient individuals able to mature enough to help others as we have learned to help ourselves.
But the adult is not the highest stage of development. The end of the cycle is that of the independent, clear-minded, all-seeing Child. That is the level known as wisdom. When the Tao Te Ching and other wise books say things like, "Return to the beginning; become a child again," that's what they're referring to. Why do the enlightened seem filled with light and happiness, like children? Why do they sometimes even look and talk like children? Because they are. The wise are Children Who Know. Their minds have been emptied of the countless minute somethings of small learning, and filled with the wisdom of the Great Nothing, the Way of the Universe.

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The masters of life know the Way, for they listen to the voice within them, the voice of wisdom and simplicity, the voice that reasons beyond Cleverness and knows beyond Knowledge. That voice is not just the power and property of a few, but has been given to everyone. Those who pay attention to it are too often treated as exceptions to a rule, rather than as examples of the rule in operation, a rule that can apply to anyone who makes use of it.

The Tao of Pooh pg. 151;154
I went on my own personal journey and ultimately arrived back at where I began (this was only a few weeks ago actually). As I was reading this book today I couldn't help but laugh as I was basically reading what had happened to me.
 

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I feel like I'm as close to that point as one can get. I can't actually claim to be finished with my self-actualization because that would mean the end of growth. I feel like it is an ever evolving process. But having said that, I feel like I've certainly completed the circle back towards childhood. Let me read you a quote from the book I just finished today because it will explain it better than I can:



I went on my own personal journey and ultimately arrived back at where I began (this was only a few weeks ago actually). As I was reading this book today I couldn't help but laugh as I was basically reading what had happened to me.
Thank you for this post. I actually made an account specifically to say this... Your post made me realize what lies at the end of the "self actualization" journey. Within every individual lies the ability to truly think about life and grapple with issues of society, truth, beauty and morality in the pursuit of meaning. This appears to me the ultimate value of a life.
The more we are able to realize this journey, continuing with ideals of morality beauty and truth, rather than getting too pent up within the values of society and what we call "day-to-day life", the more one is able to look back with understanding of how others came to be the way they are.
I leave you with this quote... from Einstein no less..

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery -- even if mixed with fear -- that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds: it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity. In this sense, and only this sense, I am a deeply religious man... I am satisfied with the mystery of life's eternity and with a knowledge, a sense, of the marvelous structure of existence -- as well as the humble attempt to understand even a tiny portion of the Reason that manifests itself in nature."
 
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Cool, original opening post.

Makes one think.

Im not deeply religious. I dont even understand what that is, in an exlainable way, anyway. Still, having met those who were that, I can share the only common denominator they shared. It was a dream about humbleness. So that is how, at the beginning, one could start to access that top of the Maslows. Even admitting not knowing everything is a relatively decent start. What Einstain referred there to is still reason. Anyone who has ever cared in his or her life, even just once, is therefore beyond what Einstain ever achieved. Or Maslow could afford to dream self actualization could orbit. Both tried to observe what caring means, and possibly imitate. But if they had loved, they wouldnt had ever gotten anymore highs from theory. But because fame mattered more than depth, loveless they came, buzzed around a bit and then left.

Never really understood what is so special about empathy, that is what caring means, to suffer or to co joy depending on whats going on. Why are people so detached from the other. What causes so much emotional distance. What changes in a mind of a perfectly genetically equipped person to start adoring dividing and controlling, instead of uniting and leading into freedom. Where can so much envy and hatred originate from. I know its a superiority complex, based on sense of inferiority. Based on weak self esteems and a fake rule over the environment. But how to live like that, day in day out, every second of the day, fake to the bone?

I guess we all have our limits. And that settles that.
 
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