Self-esteem and Self-actualization

If you are psychology or management student, self-esteem and self-actualization are both something that you had heard of. These two terms appears in Maslow’s Hierarchical of needs, a theory of motivation. Basically it talks about people, motivation to achieve certain things and that some needs take precedence over others. At the bottom of the pyramid, there is the basic human need such as; food, water, air. At the second layer, there is the safety needs, security and society and third layer represent the needs of friendship and love. Lastly, the last two layers of the pyramid are the needs of self esteem and self actualization.

Self esteem is defined as a person’s overall subjective emotional evaluation of his or her own worth. In more simple word, it is the feel of ‘feeling good about yourself’ or ‘feeling bad about yourself’. The guy who come up with this concept, Abraham Maslow, divide self-esteem into two form, the need of respect from others in the form of recognition, success, and admiration; and the need of self-respect in the form of self-love, self-confidence, skill or aptitude. The first form of self-esteem is more fragile compared to the latter.

There is no problem with human being trying to get respect or admiration from other people. However, most of the time, people try so hard to impress others that they eventually harm themselves. My favorite classic example is to dress good in order to impress our friends. This something that we can find in our everyday lives. We have seen many people buy expensive clothes and take the risk of going broke, so that our friend can see we buy a branded-expensive-trendy-piece-of -garment.

You may ask what is the problem with that..

I cannot stand with this (excuse me: stupidity) because once you don’t have enough resources to ‘buy respect from others’, you will be struck by low-self esteem and eventually it can lead to depression. People don’t realize that what is more important is self-respect or self-love, which is the latter form of self-esteem. A person with high degree of self-respect (which also self-esteem) will have more confidence and will not swayed by the opinions of others. In business, a manager with high self-esteem will take himself to make the best decision for the organization even if it is an unpopular option.

See the importance now.

After the self-esteem need being fulfilled, a person can then pursue his self actualization, which is the realization of one’s talent. I have seen the example of this type of people. They don’t wear fancy or trendy clothes but they always in constant training to develop themselves. To pursue something about their talents. They work hard to achieve it and not bothering on what people say.

When a person is actualizing himself, he would be in constant motion of trying things, take risks, look stupid and being misunderstood. Because he left most people around himself. But that is the real beauty. Imagine if Michael Jordan quit basketball when he got booed. We would not have the greatest basketball player.


I believe that humans are in constant engagement in fulfilling between this two needs. Maybe at one point we have achieved our self-esteem and pursuing our self-actualization, then at some point we turned upside down and lose our esteem. Then, we start again with pursuing the self-esteem. I hope you can understand what actually drives yourself when you are buying new clothes to coup with latest trend. I want you to know what is more important for yourself.

If you are interested more about self-actualization, click here.


Here is some book that I recommend you to read about self-esteem and self-actualization


The art of not giving a f*ck by Mark Manson

I need to put this as my first recommendation because this book teaches you to lose and let go. When you are capable taking your L to yourself and be accountable for it, you have your self-esteem. It is about not giving F*ck about people’s opinion and judgment. This books will fills your Self-esteem and by that, you are able to move into the next step, Self-actualization.

So, we already got a self-esteem book.

Now, this is my choice of self-actualization book. I could not find any better.


The Magic of Thinking Big by Dr. David J Schwartz

This book is 50 years old, yet you can always find it in any bookstore. In late 1960s, an Austrian immigrant was given a copy of this book. Barely speaking English, he struggled to read it and followed it to the letter. This man became 8 times Mr. Olympia and the greatest bodybuilder of all time. A Hollywood box office success. Governor of the state with the biggest economy in US. He said “He’ll be back”. His name is Arnold Schwarzenegger. Till this day, he still does follow this book to the letter.

Obvious choice.


If you arrived here while doing your assignment, you should listen to Erik Satie Gymnopedie No.1. 

You can thank me later.

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