Actualization - Setting a Higher Expectation for the Creative Self
Let's start with Kurt Goldstein - when studying brain damage - believed that healing was not as a result of repair but adaptation: adapting to the new conditions caused by trauma.
Let's also add Victor Frankl's idea around people chasing satisfaction and gratification around fame, money, beauty etc (which is great, nothing wrong with fame, money or beauty) and wanting meaning to life but not being challenged by society and culture to find that meaning. We also must include Carl Rogers concept that under the right conditions, the universe has a tendency to spring to a higher and more complex levels of organisation, creating new entities.
At the centre of it all is creativity.
Actualising tendency is a biological force that includes enhancement of effectiveness; movement towards autonomy and away from external control; movement towards wholeness and integration. Meaning that the organism develops optimal functioning under the given circumstances. It is not about survival but developing greater effectiveness. It does not mean that fundamentally it is a moral tendency or that it progresses in a moralistic positive direction. It is all about proactive growth and adaptation whether for good or bad - and who is to decide?
I have people asking me to help them with firming their identity however it is important to consider that self is a conceptual map that the organism develops in order to help it cope. It is not healthy to have a firm self concept under the theory of actualization. Actualization is a process and there is no such concept as a fully actualized person. It is about taking in all information - experience about the self; others; and the world, and using this information to grow and make the best possible choice in the present. Use all information to optimise. May be positive or negative. Being open to the reality as it unfolds allows the person to stay in control whatever the circumstance.
Congruence is not harmony it is being receptive to all of our inner voices, listening to all the selves without judgement and allowing for creativity to flourish. Listening to our inner world as a guide not as optimal truth. Listening to our outer world as a guide not as optimal truth.
Let us embrace our adaptation and allow creativity to do its job!
Unfortunately the actualizing tendency can get stuck for many reasons, this is where therapy can come in. Therapy can be seen as that creative force to help dislodge and remove the block or help you find ways to go around that block, giving you the freedom to take control of your own destiny.