Existential Psychology

Authenticity And Values

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Life problems are rationalized on various plausible grounds in order to escape conscious awareness of the painful truth behind what’s actually causing them, which can simply be boiled down to living a life that feels inauthentic. We would define authenticity as having the courage to isolate and unfold one’s unique potentialities and using the values that spring from this journey of self-actualization as the foundation for how to be and act in the world, for how to respond to the myriad stimuli in the environment.

Since most people can’t or won’t admit an inauthentic life as the real problem they don’t consider radical change as an option, they don’t seek to discover the authentic values that would guide behavior but instead hope a slight adjustment to the current psychological apparatus will be enough.

The problem with most values is that they’re a function of the super ego. They were implanted from an early age, internalized without question or complaint. These values might be right for an individual, they might be wrong for an individual, but either way they remain wrong in the sense that they’re inauthentic until they are actively questioned, until it’s discovered if they align with the personal journey of self-actualization.

Regardless of the external surroundings and how desirable these surroundings may seem, people can’t really be happy until they’re happy in their own skins, and they can’t be happy in their own skins until they decide to become who and what they really are. Happiness is the product of an authentic life guided by authentic values. Unhappiness is the product of an inauthentic life guided by inauthentic values. Without the courage to look deeply and see whether the current structure of a personal existence feels inauthentic due to following the values derived from the super ego rather than the values derived from the journey of self-actualization, that unconscious internal conflict will continue to manifest as external life problems of all kinds.