Previously, I discussed how I can control my own desires to “lower the bar” of expectations of what I truly need. Mostly, I was speaking of material things and basic sustenance. But what if I’ve already mastered those things? What if I am just fine with the house I have, with the meals I eat, and with the money I earn?
I am on to bigger and better things. I want a job that is fulfilling, I want to feel self-actualized! To be a hero! I want meaning in my pursuit of life!
To gain a perspective on meaning and purpose in life, I always return to control, fate and impermanence. To be self-actualized, you have to be able to look yourself in the mirror and say, “I have done my best, at what I must do in my pursuit of virtue.” It’s that simple. If you can honestly tell that to yourself about your pursuits, then you should be self-actualized. When it comes to your pursuits, this is all you have control over. Everything else is external.
As Seneca reminds us, “For if a man engages in many affairs, he often puts himself in the power of Fortune, while his safest course is rarely to tempt her, always to be mindful of her, and never put any trust in her promises. Say, I will set sail unless something happens, and I shall become praetor unless something hinders me, and my enterprise will be successful unless something interferes.”
In short, if you are involved in a pursuit that is unwholesome, then stop. If you are putting your best efforts toward betterment of yourself and those around you, then you need to do no more.
So, you can control your self-esteem and self-actualization needs with your contemplation and philosophy.