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Self-Actualization and Personality According to Abraham Maslow

Abraham Maslow’s Core Needs

Maslow argued that we all share a set of core needs. For example:

Transcendence needs

Actualization needs

Esteem needs

Love needs

Safety needs

Physical needs

Abraham Maslow & Personality

The needs above share strong links to the development of our personality.

Physical needs

Temperament: Wants, desires, base needs.

Safety needs

Character: Your ability towards control.

Love needs

Persona: What do you do to fit in?

Esteem needs

Identity: What do you do to stand out?

Actualization needs

Completeness: Having a unique purpose in your community.

Transcendence needs

Interconnectedness: Seeing everyone’s unique purpose(s) in the community.

Physical Needs

A lack of sleep, rest, or physical touch can make a person express strong emotions such as sadness, anger, or exhaustion. Similarly, we can express intense joy and euphoria when resting or enjoying a good meal. This becomes our base temperament.

Openness to experience: Is your child a picky eater or open to trying new foods? Is your child sensitive to changes in routines and habits or are they more adaptable? Is your child shy around new people or more outgoing?

Security Needs

Our need for security can drive us to control or discipline ourselves and others. It can make us behave in a way that is more controlled, repressed, or guarded.


Love/Belonging Needs

Our desire to connect with other people can drive us to seek to fit in. We may develop a socially constructed persona or we adopt certain norms or traditions that make us more well-liked by other people.

Esteem Needs

Our desire to have a basic sense of self-worth drives us to seek to develop a unique personality or set of skills. We hope these skills will make us stand apart from others. It can come down to wanting to feel needed or appreciated by others.

Self-Actualization Needs

When moving to stand apart, we can feel lonely or estranged from our community. When moving to fit in or be loved, we can feel forced to compromise vital aspects of ourselves. Our need for self-actualization drives us to feel like we can connect with other people because we have essential qualities they need.

Transcendence Needs

Transcendence needs are conversely about letting other people in because you recognize how they can contribute to or enrich your life. It means feeling awe and recognizing beauty and value in the people and the world around you. It also means feeling interconnected with the world and at one with others.


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