Eight Steps in Self-Actualization, Without The Bull

The Self-Actualization Path

The Eight Steps in Self-Actualization have no particular order, the way you learn what life is all about is personal and individualistic. These steps are meant to ease the worry that might arise to you being in an unfamiliar path. Here are the eight basic areas you might see growth and what that growth looks like.

  1. Existential Growth
  2. Losing Sense of Self
  3. Loneliness From Disconnection
  4. Outgrowing Those Around You
  5. Outgrowing Some Experts
  6. Outgrowing Religion
  7. The First Major Set-Back
  8. Understanding What Life Is All About

When I first embarked on this self-development journey at a deeper level. I could not find someone to ask the harder questions I had. I was lost and desperately seeking reassurance that the path I was going down was not a dead-end. That somehow, I was making progress.

I was under the impression I was heading somewhere and that I needed to know how long before I got there. The more I searched, the farther that place I was supposed to get to, got—

YouTube, with its vast video library on new age and self-help, was not answering the questions I was facing, I didn’t even know what to call these new thoughts and ideas I was facing.

Looking back now, I wish someone who had finished their journey would have shared a bit on what was coming for the emerging Inner Change Seeker. Below I am sharing a few growth spots I reached at different times of my spiritual search. Mind you; these are not in any particular order.

Photo by Ashley Batz
The Path to Actualization

The Eight Steps (In No Particular Order)

One, Existential pain:

The new seeking environment leaves you feeling lost, and in a painful situation, what is this life all about? When I first started looking into why I was feeling existential despair, it was hard finding precise information. I found minimal explanations as to what went on in the brain during existential questioning. I had to put two and two together. Why and when did I begin to feel despair about life?

As I recalled the weeks before my first existential episode, I was busy, and I was not feeling well with my ADHD medication. Since I thought it was the stimulant causing my issue, I asked the Dr. to switch me to a non-stimulant. Bam! I at once began to feel horrible about life. Nothing I did could take away the feeling of a pick hitting my brain. I remember every day felt horrible like it had zero joy. Sitting at a toddler class with my child, I would look at the other parents and wonder why they were not screaming at the mundanity of life.

I never felt like that, not even when I thought I had depression. This depression was something else altogether. As I said, it took me a long time to figure out the puzzle of existential pain. Here is my take: There are two kinds of existentialism. One is caused by a dissatisfaction with life. This one is gentle and will come and go with whatever low mood you grasp onto. But if a friend calls you to feel once again fine and joyful.

The other is more than likely due to a loss of joy caused by medication or hormone changes. If a medication causes your existentialism, that is far more dangerous than if hormone changes cause it. It is suicidal ideation (my opinion). These two types of existentialism are very different and need two different types of intervention.

For existentialism caused by the human imagination and seeking a better life, all you need is a few exercises. Journaling, friends, volunteering, these kinds of activities can help guide you into getting out of your head.

The other (hormones and medication) requires medical attention. This kind of existential crisis is one that often leads people to take their own life— its that painful. I felt like my life had NO meaning, NONE. This existential pain needs close monitoring. You need to practice good healthy eating, meditation, and meeting with a therapist (so they can monitor you for safety).

Existential pain can continue for years if you don’t prevent what causes it, overthinking, and depression. Read how I cured my depression HERE. (for medication-caused existentialism, you need to seek medical attention from your Doctor).

Photo by Christopher Burns on Unsplash
Removing the Ego

Two, Losing your sense of self:

As you begin to understand the meaning of self-love, you find that who you thought you were and who you wanted to be is not even the point anymore. Now you even feel disconnected from WHO you are.

My sense of self did not deepen with self-love practices. Instead, I found myself wondering what the heck I stood for. I had no idea what I wanted in life or what steps to take next. Unmasking years of self-criticism (the actual cause of self-hate, read What is Self-Love (HERE) leaves you raw. You find yourself facing an empty shell. But with emptiness, there is room to re-new the old, fill the empty shell with things you want. You get to create the YOU you always wanted to be.

So if you find yourself in this state, alone and directionless. Don’t lose your momentum. It’s time to mold. This is an excellent spot to be; the multi-verse has no limit.

Three, Disconnection loneliness:

You have practiced giving up those things that once brought you joy, such as alcohol, religion, groups, food, and even self-help. Now you find yourself in this disconnection bubble. It’s a lonely place.

Let me explain a little further. A connection is the state of energy connected to a state of dependence. When you can’t help but get angry at someone’s comment and must retaliate, that is energy IS co-dependence. You are dependent on those things around you and must interact. It’s like being connected to the matrix. If the matrix has you, you can’t be in control. To be in full control of your destiny, you must learn to disconnect from those things that have a hold on you.

But once you are disconnected, there is this place left empty. If you let go of alcohol, you would no longer have certain friends around. If you let go of gossiping, maybe you end up sitting alone at lunch more often than not.

It does feel lonely those first few months of practicing disconnection. But there is this first REAL control over your life you now feel. Life is getting direction from you, instead of the other way around. You feel like a true creator instead of a direction-less body that flows with the wind.

Four, Outgrowing Your Friends and Family:

You find yourself frustrated at the lack of growth with those around you. How can people just sit there and complain? You can’t understand why people (family) are satisfied with being the same. Or, families complain about their situations and never seem to want to change.

But it’s not your call. That’s it. If you are here and get frustrated with let’s say, your partner not working on his issues. You have to practice disconnecting from that need to fix them. A person can’t be lead to change; they have to do it when they are ready.

The only thing you can do at this point is to work on your frustration and love them as they are. It’s a great lesson to learn to accept the “growth zone” of each person.

You know you have reached the acceptance for the way things are when you can be around energy-vampires and not be affected. Seriously, that can happen. I can now hang around some of my friends who would suck the life out of me and not feel that fragmented energy. My bubble is calm, and it feels good not to worry about changing others.

Photo by Jeremy Yap on Unsplash
Seeing The Truth Once Hidden

Five, Outgrowing Spiritual Experts:

So-called “experts” seem to be no longer able to offer much in the form of spiritual growth. Once here you will come to realize that spotting REAL truths is not as hard as it once was.

During this stage, I felt like I needed a guide, leader, someone to show me more of this self-actualization depth ness. I found a few, mostly online, but they offered a much-needed direction.

It’s not uncommon to get to this stage and feel like a fraud and superior being at the same time. A fraud because you can’t believe you are here, and a superior because others seem so connected to the Matrix.

It was during this particular part of my development that I stopped seeking knowledge and realized knowledge would find me. And most importantly, I was okay with simply existing, and it didn’t matter what life was about. I stopped searching, and it was amazing.

Six, Outgrowing Religion:

Outgrowing religion is where you begin to see the vastness of our creation and feel pain at losing your God. Now not all will get here, why? Because not everyone wants to let go off their God. They find ways of fitting their God back into whatever they expand to.

But that is not what happened to me. I lost my God. For me learning about Inner Alignment did not allow for a belief of a box, and my God became a box. I could not grow within the boundaries of this box, so I had to let my God go.

With letting go of the God concept, I found a brief fear. What if I let go of God, and I was wrong? What if I don’t believe and all the answers are there?

It didn’t take me long, however, to let go of that pendulum of God. God (in my opinion) is another one of those connections (matrix, box whatever you want to call it) that keeps people from seeing the large picture.

If you are here, you will be okay. No hand will come down and spite you. You are free to pray and meditate on everything and anything that helps you grow as a human. Your inner alignment will thank you.

Seven, Back in the Hole, What happened?:

The first significant setback you have after a lot of self-development growth, you will feel like you are back at the beginning. This teaches you humility and that gracefulness is never to be taken for granted.

Nothing is permanent, not even happiness, not even alignment. But it can be if you remember to be grateful for it. Let me clarify with some science. We are a pattern of neural activity. And if you can get lazy once you feel confident in your new existence. You, as a creature of comfort, will fall back to self-preserving simpler behavior (back to the less resistant pattern), and that will get you back to old habits of misery.

So remember to be grateful and reinforce those patterns that are joyful, pleasant, growthful, and limitless. Continue with eating well, yoga, meditation, and other healthful activities.

Photo by Fuu J on Unsplash
Life Is So Anticlimactically Good

Eight, Eureka I Know What Life Is All About:

You have arrived, and it’s surprisingly anticlimactic and amazing at the same time. But holy shit, that means I am the creator.

You have arrived, and somehow you now understand that out of that matrix there is nothing, nothing that actually matters and nothing that we are here to do. That it’s our ego that seeks meaning, and there is no higher cause.

But don’t despair, remember the Nothing that swallowed Fantasia in the Never Ending Story? It was making room for a greater potential.

With this more significant potential, you realize you can create and dream any reality. Welcome to the truth!

Finally, I leave you with a thought. This was not written to state that what I learned in the same as to what you will learn. But to highlight some potential setbacks and even jumps in your development.

This is intended for the person who has been at self-development a while and has found it hard to find answers to those questions that simply some may not have thought to answer.

After years of searching for my own center, I finally have arrived. I don’t know what to call it, but I am here. This is a blank canvas full of potential.

Currently, I find myself busy in a holding point, the motherhood holding point. I am raising children, which has my priority over all else. Do you ever wonder why most Guru’s are male and single? I can tell you motherhood is not for the faint of heart. It’s for the individual that wants to live in a state of ultimate test. I say this as I try typing in the dark while my two year sleeps.


I am not enlightened, and this kind of self-development is not for enlightenment. This is simply for those who can’t stay living with a bandana around their eyes. Many people are at this level, and it’s just nice reading what others have gone through.

Some of the above insights are about medical information, but I am not a professional. Please seek professional advice if you need medical assistance or have any medical questions.

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Lucia Stakkestad is an emotional regulation teacher with over a decade of experience in helping individuals gain insight into their feelings and learn methods to handle their emotions more effectively. Not only does she specialize in emotional regulation, but she also teaches evidence-based mindfulness practices that can help you reduce stress and anxiety, build healthier relationships and develop self-awareness. With her guidance, you will gain a better understanding of your mindset, emotions and mindfulness and learn how to make positive transformational changes in your life.

Lucia Stakkestad

Lucia Stakkestad is an emotional regulation teacher with over a decade of experience in helping individuals gain insight into their feelings and learn methods to handle their emotions more effectively. Not only does she specialize in emotional regulation, but she also teaches evidence-based mindfulness practices that can help you reduce stress and anxiety, build healthier relationships and develop self-awareness. With her guidance, you will gain a better understanding of your mindset, emotions and mindfulness and learn how to make positive transformational changes in your life.

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