Authentic Engagement

A radical way of being.

Nine Points to Consider

Celebrating the multi-faceted nature of being human.

What would someone living the Existential-Humanistic perspective be like?

1. You would explore what it means to exist and what it means for you to be human. Ask yourself who am I? What is my world?

2. You would value your unique subjective experience. Trust your own inward searching process (Bugental) to discover and value who you are in the moment. When asking a question or confronting an issue, you would stay in silence for a moment and see what emerges.

3. You would balance the rational by being open to your intuitive self as well. Listen to the quieter voice we all have inside ourselves.

4. With compassion, you would be aware of the full spectrum of feelings and thoughts of which you are capable. Endeavor to experience and understand your feelings, rather than judging or excluding them.

5. You would embrace that we are all interconnected and that Buber’s idea of an I-Thou relationship is an optimal way to relate to others. You would treat everyone in your life with reverence and respect, or as the saying goes, “If you see yourself in others, how can you cause anyone harm?”

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6. You would intend to be more fully alive and vital. You seek out what uplifts you and enhances the quality of your life.

7. You would intend to live Maslow’s higher values of being human which include such values as Truth, Beauty and Justice. You could choose a value and have it be your mantra for a day or week.

8. You would believe we all have the capability to actualize in our lives more powerfully. What one small thing could you focus on today that would empower your future?

9. You would embrace the idea that human beings, if supported to be their authentic selves, will ultimately act in the best interests of themselves, of each other, of their community, and of the planet as a whole. You aspire to live with integrity in your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

To me, these ideals are exciting and enlivening points to consider. Integrating these ideals, although not always easy, supports the framework for a life well-lived.

 

Bob Edelstein, L.M.F.T., M.F.T., is an existential humanistic psychotherapist based in Portland, Oregon.

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