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Gerardo Castillo Ceballos, Professor Emeritus of the School of Education and Psychology of the University of Navarra.

Self-realization: necessity or snobbery?

Mon, 29 Feb 2016 11:17:00 +0000 Published in Diari de Tarragona

Today it is common to hear these words: "I want to fulfill myself! This expression is often understood in very different ways. For some people it means escaping or freeing oneself from obligations that one does not enjoy; for others it means letting oneself be carried away by a strong admiration for what is fashionable (snobbery); finally, there are those who see it as the satisfaction of a natural need related to continued growth staff . Let's look at three examples.

There are people who try to fulfill themselves by escaping from their family duties with an absorbing hobby or with an unnecessary work . There are also those who dedicate several hours a day to the gym, massages and manicures. No less real are the cases of those who aspire to fulfill themselves by volunteering in an NGO and/or studying a second degree program even though they are already retired.

Only the third activity or status entails self-demand and self-improvement, two essential characteristics of achievement staff.

To realize is to move from project to reality. A person realizes himself by fulfilling the project of his existence. This brings him closer each day to his fullness, perfection or excellence. The realization staff is a process by which a person tries to become all that he is in potential.

Carlos Llano affirms that excellence is not a state in which someone is; it is not something static, but a dynamic status derived from continuous improvement. This takes the form of a continuous increase in the quality of one's actions. The decisive factor in achieving excellence is not doing many things, but doing them well and getting better and better.

The process of realization staff is made possible by man's free condition, which allows him to choose among various alternatives. If man's freedom is to use it, and if the use he makes of this freedom affects him, man is making himself throughout his life. Millán Puelles argues it this way: "We are free, that is, we are not completely made; but we are, that is, not everything is to be done. But if I am not completely made, I have to finish making myself; whether I like it or not, man is a task for himself: the task of making himself a man".

The Imperative of Pindar expresses it very well: "become what you are" (become freely, with your effortful activity, what you are in a natural way). This constitutes the object of the Education: conformation of human freedom to its own natural demands. To realize, to humanize, to educate man is to make him faithful to his own being. The task of making oneself man is a process of self-realization.

In his humanistic psychological theory Carl Rogers explains that the mature and balanced personality is the result of the process of self-realization, i.e. the process of becoming a person. He adds that self-realization consists of openness to inner experience, the understanding and interpretation of which provides the meaning of life.

What is the difference between true and false self-realization?

False fulfillment is posited as an end in itself. When man fixes his own project of existence on himself, he incurs in a narcissistic self-contemplation that holds back the true development staff .

For Viiktor Frankl, "true self-realization is only the profound effect of the complete fulfillment of the meaning of life. He argues that "self-realization by itself cannot be situated as goal. The world should not be considered as a mere expression of oneself, nor as a mere instrument or means to achieve the desired self-realization. In both cases the vision of the world becomes contempt for the world".

For his part, Javier Hervada expresses the same argument with these words: "If the idea of finality is broken, man remains enclosed within himself, since being without finality does not project itself in a vectorial sense, but as in a circle, upon itself. Man realizes himself, perfects himself, not starting from himself and remaining in himself, but in the measure in which he unites himself to a good that transcends him, that surpasses him".

In what environments and situations is authentic fulfillment most favored staff? The same person is fulfilled at the same time in his or her family, in his or her work, in friendships and in free time. The main area is the family, because of the close relationship that exists between the person and the family.