Some Psychological Skills which Enable Authentic Living

Persons who live authentically seem to share certain common skills and attributes. Like breathing in and breathing out, those skills resemble an ongoing pulsation of sensing within and acting without. They could be described as skills of self-discovery and self-expression.


Self-discovery allows for contacting the self, discovering its nature, and integrating its experience. Skills of self-discovery include:

  • Presence – Being with the immediacy of your experience within and without as it unfolds in the present moment.
  • Listening – Receptively sensing and inquiring into the felt sense of your unfolding experience.
  • Love of Truth – A fidelity to the truth of your own experience – a truth which for you supersedes other concerns.
  • Wholeness – Experiencing and embracing all that you are with a radical permissiveness.
  • Self-Esteem – Implicitly valuing the givenness of your nature as it is.
  • Self-Acceptance – Reconciling your preferences and expectations with the givenness of your nature and your life as it is.
  • Values Clarification – Giving definition to your own values, beliefs, opinions, and posture in life.
  • Living as Process – Living as a dynamic unfolding process, not an unchanging concept of yourself.


Self-expression manifests outwardly the discovered inclinations of your authentic nature. The skills of self-expression include:

  • Personal Autonomy – Inner or self-direction and self-regulation.
  • Uniqueness – Valuing and expressing the difference that you are.
  • Boundaries – Having flexible boundaries which distinguish you to yourself, your relationships, and your world.
  • Agency – Living as the cause of your life, not the effect.
  • Choice – Creating your life the privilege of conscious choice.
  • Decision Making -Enabling your deliberations with the formal skills of decision making.
  • Will – Applying the resolve of your will to your self-directed purpose.
  • Commitment – Passionately committing your abilities and resources to the life you choose to live.
  • Self-Assertion – Expressing yourself in the world through action.
  • Personal Responsibility – Freely accepting responsibility for the consequences of your choices and actions.

Initially we may understand the “self” which personal authenticity expresses to be the ego, that is, the everyday experience of yourself. We labor meaningfully with issues and questions reflecting the skills and attributes mentioned above. “Who am I?”, “Which path shall I take?” “How shall I believe?” etc.

Yet as we deepen, we discover that the self which authenticity expresses is the Self, Being, expressing authenticity as the unfettered spontaneity of Presence.

In addition to the skills mentioned above, can you think of other skills needed to live authentically?


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6 comments to Some Psychological Skills which Enable Authentic Living

  • Shelley Knowlton

    Michael, that was written with great clarity – much easier to understand than the other blogs I have read. Shelley

  • Larae

    Integrity and accountability. In adhering to doing what I say I will do, saying only what I mean, admitting my mistakes to myself and others, and such behaviors, I find the ground on which I stand to be more secure with each passing day. I have come to recognize that my mind knows when I have been out of integrity, and at some level, this undermines the sense of self through which I interact with the world around me. Larae

  • Michael

    Yes, Larae. “In” or “out” of integrity seems to be an experience of being congruent or incongruent with one’s truth. Yet it seems something more. What is that more? I think accountability is “the buck stops here” aspect of personal responsibility.

  • […] I have written of the love of truth as one of the skills which enable personal authenticity (see Some Psychological Skills Which Enable Authentic Living) So seemingly I am suggesting that there is a truth with which our authenticity comports. And I am. […]

  • […] is of utmost importance, and it is one of the psychological traits which foster authenticity (see Some Psychological Skills which Enable Authenticity Living). In the preceding post, I wrote about the nature of personal truth (What is the Truth which […]

  • […] Given that having defined, yet flexible boundaries is a skill of personal authenticity (see Some Psychological Skills which Enable Authentic Living), it warrants that we take a closer look at […]

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