Research has even shown that in elderly patients, the caregiver’s own spirituality had a positive impact on the patient’s well-being (Kim, Reed, Hayward, Kang, & Koenig, 2011). Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Meaning and Valued Living Exercises for free. These creative, science-based exercises will help you learn more about your values, motivations, and goals and will give you the tools to inspire a sense of meaning in the lives of your clients, students, or employees. As you may realize in the following, quality has many facets and is more complex than it seems. Wong (2016) suggests that self-transcendence at each of these levels will involve a continuous process of personal improvement in order to expand our potential.
May et al. (1960) and May (1983) defines “being” as the propensities within us that are continually emerging and becoming, that will stand out in time. He proposes that our self-awareness as human beings expands the range of our consciousness and thereby creates the situation in which we may transcend our immediate circumstances. He argues, further, our self-consciousness or self-awareness makes the capacity for self-transcendence as inseparable through the way in which we might reflectively stand outside a situation and consider its content and characteristics as well as choices for the future. In exploring both the characteristics of psychological existence and highlighting the vibrancy with which we come into “being” as a constant process, May has described self-transcendence in a manner that is built upon by subsequent writers. Self-transcendence is a personality trait that involves the expansion or evaporation of personal boundaries. Self-transcendent experiences exist on a spectrum of possibility, intensity, and choice (Yaden et al., 2017).
In this way, we echo Csikszentmihalyi (1993) when he proposes that we proceed in the phases of differentiation and integration and the dialectical spiral pathways of development. Wong proposes that the “will to meaning” is a motivational factor, and the meaning mindset is a cognitive capacity or response to identify and discover meaning in life. He believes these two factors lead to a discovery and experience of self-transcendence. Wong identifies characteristics of self-transcendence as a shift in focus from self to other, a shift in our values from extrinsic to intrinsic, an increase in moral concern, and the experience of elevated emotions such as awe or ecstasy. Going further, Wong suggests that these experiences produce a spiral effect in which meaning, virtue, and happiness interact and cumulatively build.
In this piece, we will define self-transcendence, look at its components and characteristics, think of some examples, and explore how it can be achieved. Great leaders are expected to transcend the limitations of politics, especially during wartime and national crises. A great writer may transcend geographical boundaries to become internationally respected.
Pamela Reed’s Self Transcendence Theory
Keep your mind and your heart open to self-transcendence, and you will have taken the first and most vital step to achieving it. If you want to achieve self-transcendence for yourself, there are ways to go about it. It’s not an easy path, as it represents the highest heights of human development, beyond even Maslow’s rarely achieved self-actualization.
Whilst the user-based approach to quality is rooted in the subjectivity of consumer preferences, the manufacturing-based approach, as the name suggests, focuses on internal matters. Products are designed and manufactured according to predetermined specifications. Quality control techniques help to detect deviations from the specification.
Nature of the trait
This form of self-transcendence may involve a profound sense of absorption, sense of loss in time, giving up the past and the future, and a narrowing of consciousness into present time and work. Wong has further modeled self-transcendence, building directly on the work of Frankl (e.g., Wong, 2016). Wong proposes meaning-seeking and self-transcendence are a fundamental expression of our spiritual nature and, through this, influence our healing and well-being. He suggests that the more we “forget ourselves” in the act of giving ourselves to a cause, service, or love, the more human we become, and, in turn, actualise who we truly are. Wong dismisses “self-actualisation” in its own right and believes that it is simply a “side effect” of self-transcendence. The user-based approach focuses exclusively on the customer in the determination of quality.
- The bedrock of this model is Frankl’s “freedom of will” as a central aspect of human existence in which we would respond ethically and responsibly towards others and the demands of life on us.
- Although these tips can help, the most important factor in achieving self-transcendence is simply an awareness and openness to the idea.
- Maslow also wrote of a transcendence of the self in creative work, in which an oneness with the work undertaken occurred that could be felt as ecstasy and exaltation (Maslow, 1971).
- Maslow’s addition of self-transcendence to the pyramid is not always noted in the literature when his theory is cited, but it has managed to make its way through the research community nonetheless.
- Many prisoners in the camps succumbed to despair and dehumanization, losing their fight for life, liberty, and a sense of self; however, some in the camps actually seemed to retain or even further develop their sense of self and find or reaffirm their life’s purpose.
Similarly, Tornstam has been reformulating and deepening our understanding of the experience of aging, noting that, beyond the losses of aging, there is still a capacity to learn, change, and psychologically grow (e.g., Tornstam, 1997, 2011). His concept of “gerotranscendence” encapsulates the transcending of “borders and barriers” of earlier life experiences that is multidimensional (cosmic, the self, and social and personal relationships). This scale is nestled within Cloninger’s more broad assessment, the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI; 1993). It is a part of the Character portion of the TCI, which measures “self-concepts and individual differences in goals and values, which influence voluntary choices, intentions, and the meaning and salience of what is experienced in life” (Cloninger, 2015). According to this approach, the title ‘quality’ should only be attributed to those products and services that achieve the highest standards.
Further that the outcome of each stage would be revisited and revised cumulatively in each subsequent stage. This conveys how an individual may adjust, change, deepen their sense of self, and the life perception repeatedly through life, an interpretation put forward by Erikson and Erikson and reflecting McAdams (1993) research that we construct and adjust our sense of self and life story through time. “Peak” experiences were one of the characteristics of self-actualising individuals identified by Maslow which he defined https://www.globalcloudteam.com/ as wonderful experiences, rapturous, and ecstatic moments (Maslow, 1968, 1970). In these experiences, individuals would appear to become self-forgetful, unselfish, and ego transcending (Maslow, 1964). An integration or unity within their being was experienced, and between the individual and their sense of the world around them. Maslow also wrote of a transcendence of the self in creative work, in which an oneness with the work undertaken occurred that could be felt as ecstasy and exaltation (Maslow, 1971).
This scale is one-dimensional, considering only a comprehensive sense of self-transcendence, and measures this construct by questioning the respondent on several characteristics of a mature life. It is easy to see how self-transcendence and spirituality are connected—one of the inherent qualities of self-transcendence is the expansion of one’s consciousness beyond the self, to something higher. One of the major ways in which self-transcendence can impact end-of-life experience is through spirituality. In contrast to quality as absolute, the value-based approach regards quality as relative to price. According to this view, the buyer’s perception of value represents a mental trade-off between the quality or benefits perceived relative to price paid.
The strength of this approach is that it allows the customer the say in defining quality. The reason is that expectations can also be highly varied, and personal, which can be problematic. Furthermore, customers may not be in a position to articulate their expectations due to a lack of knowledge and understanding.
A comment that recurs in Maslow’s writing likens those displaying ST as showing the “Bodhisattva” state, oriented to support and to serve those beyond themselves in difficulty or confusion (Hoffman, 1999). This reflects an apparent paradox in that individuals who invest in or are motivated by the development of their potential, in becoming a healthy and strong “ego,” in turn then seek to let go of this state to merge with causes and the need for support of other individuals or causes (Maslow, 1971). Kaufman (2020) proposes that self-actualisation acts as a “bridge” to self-transcendent states, values, and motivation. Maslow (1964) proposed that, in transcending polarities and dichotomies in life experience, we open to a broader and more accepting perception of ourselves and the world around us. By drawing out the themes that are apparent across the approaches reviewed, we can explore the most effective ways these can be integrated. For example, historically there have differences of opinion regarding the relationship between “self-actualisation” (as articulated by Maslow) and “self-transcendence” (as articulated, for example, by Frankl and more recently Wong).
He emphasizes that this improvement process is not based on self-reference, but based on service to others. Wong and Reilly (2017) builds on the earlier paper and develops an articulate and helpful diagrammatic pathway to self-transcendence emerging from Frankl’s and his own theorizing (see Figure 1 below). Self-actualization is the process of realizing one’s full potential and achieving personal growth, while self-transcendence involves a sense of connection to something greater than oneself. Specifically, the self-transcendence scale measures “the extent to which individuals conceive themselves as integral parts of the universe as a whole” (Cloninger, 2015). Those with high self-transcendence are thought to be more spiritual, unpretentious, humble, and fulfilled than those who are low in self-transcendence. It consists of 15 items adapted from the Developmental Resources of Later Adulthood (DRLA) scale.
Remember, this exercise is not an attempt to impress others, deliver a great performance or “improve the imperfect self”. It is about personal growth by creating a meaningful moment for you or your client. Maslow’s addition of self-transcendence to the pyramid is not always noted in the literature when his theory is cited, but it has managed to make its way through the research community nonetheless.
Join 550,000+ helping professionals who get free, science-based tools sent directly to their inbox. Is it touchy-feely new age baloney, or an important stage of development with a rich history? Hopefully, you walk away from this piece with a better understanding of self-transcendence, its subcomponents, and how to work towards your own self-transcendence. Given the Self-Transcendence Scale by Cloninger is actually one of seven subscales from his larger TCI scale, you have to request this larger scale using this form. This scale has proven to be adequately valid and reliable and is a good choice for researchers interested in measuring self-transcendence (Haugan, Rannestad, Garåsen, Hammervold, & Espnes, 2011; Reed, 1986).