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Posts Tagged ‘Mindfullness’

Psychologist Carl Rogers believed that each of us have one basic motive in life: to self-actualize, meaning that our “ideal self” (who we would like to be) is congruent with our “self -image” (how we see ourselves). To achieve this balance, we must be living an authentic life.

What does it mean to live an authentic life?

According to Rogers’ theory, to live an authentic life, you must first understand what your beliefs and values are. Once you understand those core values, you maintain a balance by living according to those beliefs and values.

Authentic life = beliefs and values + actions and behaviors

It isn’t always about making waves, standing out in a crowd, or making sure you are unique or different; it is about being comfortable in your skin without worrying about how you compare to the rest of society.

There are health implications when we are living an authentic life. Those whose actions and behaviors are typically in line with their beliefs and values reap the benefits of feeling optimistic about life and tend to have positive self-esteem and an overall healthy psychological wellbeing. When we are out of sync, that is when life can become stressful, overwhelming, and discouraging.

To nurture self-authenticity, strive for the following:

  1. Awareness. The knowledge and acceptance that you are not just “one” thing (ex. extroverted versus introverted); rather you are multi-faceted with an understanding of your motives, emotions, strengths, weaknesses, dreams, goals, and aspirations.
  2. Unbiased Processing of Self-relevant Information. Objectively looking at our own positive and negative self-aspects, feelings, internal experiences, and private knowledge without denying the truth, distorting reality, or exaggerating (to create a more positive or favorable self-image).
  3. Behavior. Behaving according to our beliefs, values, preferences, and perceived needs rather than acting suitably to please society, obtain recognition or rewards, or to avoid punishment.
  4. Relational Orientation. Being yourself, open and honest in your actions and motives, in your relationships with others.

Further, you can practice these five things to help you live an authentic life:

  1. Openness to new experiences. Allow for ambiguity in situations and a willingness to view events without defensively distorting or censoring so that you can be on a path of growth.
  2. Mindful living. Living fully in the moment, being flexible and adaptable as you view life as fluid and ever changing.
  3. Going with your gut. Trust your inner experiences to guide your behaviors.
  4. Freedom. The choice about how to respond and feel about experiences is up to you.
  5. Creativity. Use creativity in your approach to living, rather than reverting to an established set of rules of behavior that might be restrictive.

If you really want to make a positive impact on your world, be you! Walk your own path, stay true to yourself, and embrace the differences in others. What a wonderful world to be authentically you!  

Sources:

Goldman, B. M., & Kernis, M. H. (2002). The role of authenticity in healthy psychological functioning and subjective well-being. Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association, 5(6), 18-20. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2002-11420-003

Kernis, M. H. & Goldman, B. M. (2006). A multicomponent conceptualization of authenticity: Theory and Research. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 38.  https://depts.washington.edu/uwcssc/sites/default/files/hw00/d40/uwcssc/sites/default/files/The%20Authenticity%20Inventory.pdf

McLeod, S. (2008). Self-Concept. Simply Psychology. https://www.simplypsychology.org/self-concept.html#image

McLeod, S. (2014). Carl Rogers Theory. Simply Psychology. https://www.simplypsychology.org/carl-rogers.html

Wood, A. M., Linley, P. A., Maltby, J., Baliousis, M., & Joseph, S. (2008). The authentic personality: A theoretical and empirical conceptualization and the development of the Authenticity Scale. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 55, 385–399. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0167.55.3.385

Written by: Dr. Roseanne E. Scammahorn, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Darke County

Reviewed by: Jennifer Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

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