14 Principles of Authenticity

Honesty Integrity Reputation Truth Sincerity are all pricniples of authenticityWhat’s old is new. And, what was heralded as ground-breaking in the past is often still relevant today in the technology-bound, social-media-driven environment in which we strive for excellence.

Reviewing the work of the renowned humanistic psychologist, Carl Rogers, I re-discovered 14 of his principles which he chose to live by. They epitomize the authenticity and perspectives which, for me, are the foundation of true personal effectiveness and interpersonal collaboration.

14 of Carl Rogers’ principles

They’re listed below and I’ve added my perspective of each one:

1. In my relationships with people, I have found it does not help, in the long run, to act as though I were something that I am not.
demonstrate principles of authenticityPresenting yourself as something you’re not may achieve short-term gains; pseudo-foundations for personal and professional relationships. But the energy needed to maintain the facade of anything other than your authentic self is often not sustainable, resulting in relationships disintegrating.



2. I find I am more effective when I can listen acceptantly to myself, and can be myself.
Being self-aware of your own thoughts, feelings, habits, strengths, flaws and values, and accepting them, establishes a sound basis for personal resilience and for building rapport with others.

3. I have found it of enormous value when I can permit myself to understand another person.
Empathy is the ability to see and understand matters from another person’s perspective; to appreciate their view of their subjective reality. To be effective at this, we need to be aware of our own thoughts, feelings and behaviors and not allow them to inhibit the flow of empathy.

4. I have found it enriching to open channels whereby others can communicate their own perceptual worlds to me.
Expressing empathy builds rapport and establishes a sense of trust, so that others can feel comfortable in sharing their perceptions and perspectives; their opinions, concerns and aspirations.

5. I have found it highly rewarding when I can accept another person.
In our fast-paced, sound-byte-filled, first-impression-judging world, it’s easy to overlook the good and the potential in a person. Taking time to look through the external facade of a person allows appreciation of their inner world and provides opportunities to build rapport.

6. The more open I am to the realities in me and in another person, the less do I find myself wanting to “fix things”.
This is linked to principle 5. Appreciating the impact of our thoughts, feelings and behaviors on another person, and theirs on us, fosters mutual understanding. Then, we may reveal strengths instead of shortcomings, and advantages in the dissimilarity between people. This precludes the tendency to stymie relationships by judging or applying predetermined standards.

7. I can trust my experience.
Our individual experience is our unique set of facts and data that each of us accumulates consciously and subconsciously throughout our lives. Each person’s experience is different, and no one can take it away. Therefore, each of us can value what we’ve experienced, good and bad, objectively and with a sense of trust and confidence.

8. Evaluation by others is not a guide for me. Only one person can know if what I am doing is honest, thorough, open and sound; or false, defensive and unsound. I am that person.
This represents our accountability to ourselves. It is the basis of our integrity and authenticity, personally and professionally.

9. Experience is, for me, the highest authority. It is to experience that I must return again and again, to discover a closer approximation to truth.
Following principle 7, our individual experience, our unique data, when reviewed calmly and objectively by us enables us to interpret ourselves and our environment with increasing certainty.

10. I enjoy the discovering of order in experience.
We often see patterns and frameworks in the information we gather in our conscious experience. It is the correlation between seemingly unrelated sets of information that becomes apparent when we review our experience objectively.

11. The facts are friendly. Painful reorganizations are known as learning.
It is conceivable that all that we experience can be viewed objectively as mere facts and data. They can be analyzed with rationality, objectivity and logic. When facts and data engender or engage our emotions (for example when we succeed, fail, acquire, lose), learning through experience is reinforced.

12. What is most personal and unique in each one of us is probably the very element which would, if shared or expressed, speak most deeply to others.
If we strive to take stock of our own capabilities and experience objectively, it is possible to reveal what we truly value, and act upon our unique potential for having a positive impact on others.

13. The more fully a person is understood and accepted, the more that individual tends to drop the false fronts with which they have been meeting life; and the more they tend to move forward.
The flip side of principle 12; if we can identify, appreciate and acknowledge what is unique and valuable in others, there is no need for them to expend energy on maintaining facades that are incongruent with their true selves.

14. Life, at its best, is a flowing, changing process in which nothing is fixed.
Many crave structure, routine and predictability in life and derive a sense of comfort from this perceived framework, often at the expense of authenticity. We can be more authentic when we acknowledge the 13 principles above and recognize that principle 14 represents the essentially dynamic nature of our lives.

Each of these principles of authenticity still strikes a chord in me!
Which ones resonate with you? How do you interpret them?

Austin Freedman

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