In our social media-saturated world, the concept of authenticity is a popular one. Instagram filters and Facebook posts help us present the best version of ourselves online, but scrolling through my feeds of beautiful and perfectly curated shots leads me to wonder about authenticity in a broader sense. What does an authentic life look like and how do we get there?
Psychologist and former director of the Rice University Counseling Center Michael Winters, Ph.D, describes an authentic life as, “making choices based on one’s most deeply held values – rather than a whim or what feels pleasant or comfortable in the moment.”
Dr. Winters specializes in an approach called “logotherapy,” a type of psychotherapy that focuses on pursuing purpose and meaning in life. “I think of this as meaning-centered living, where a person regularly reviews their life and the decisions he or she makes to live as fully in alignment with their deepest values as possible.” With more than 20 years of experience working with others to become more in-tune with themselves and their own unique sense of purpose, he is teaching a fall class to help students do just that. “I hope participants in my class gain a greater sense of their own values, but even more importantly, gain tools to access their deepest values, as the values may change over time.”
Students in this interactive class will engage in discussion and various exercises to deepen the meaning in their work, relationships and life direction. Dr. Winters suggests a quick practice that you can implement right away. “Before making a decision, say about what to do immediately after reading this blog post, take a deep breath and answer the question: What is the most important thing I can do in this moment? If the answer is clear, do it! If the answer is not clear, take another moment to evaluate a few options.”
We happen to think the answer will point you toward registering for Dr. Winters’ course, “True North: Designing an Authentic Life,” which begins today.