“The good life is a process, not a state of being.” – Carl Rogers
Carl Rogers, a pioneer in the field of counselling and psychotherapy, spent decades working closely with people. Through his experiences, he discovered four traits that seem to be common among people who are living “the good life” – people who find fulfilment and satisfaction in their lives.
Rogers considered “the good life” to be a process, not a destination with an endpoint. The four traits below describe processes that people strive toward rather fixed goals to be achieved.
Four traits of “the good life”
1. Increasing Openness to Experience
People often avoid the feelings and reactions that we find uncomfortable or believe we’re not “supposed” to feel. It’s common to push those things out of our awareness and pretend they don’t exist. Being open to experience means acknowledging and accepting those parts of ourselves that we’ve kept hidden from ourselves. When we’re open to our experience, we allow ourselves feel whatever emotions might arise and “own” them as part of ourselves. We can be in touch with our anger, our happiness, our positive or negative reactions to people and events, or whatever else we’re experiencing at any given time. It’s about being aware of what’s happening inside ourselves and how we’re reacting to our environment.
2. Living in the Moment
Living in the moment is about seeing each moment as a new experience. Whatever you’re experiencing right now is different from anything you’ve experienced before or will experience again. Living in the moment allows you to be curious and to see each point in time with fresh eyes. It means being open to learning from your experience as it unfolds rather than fitting your experiences into rigid, preconceived ideas about the world.
3. Increasing Trust in Yourself
When we decide what to do in any given situation, we often rely on rules or expectations created by other people. Trusting yourself means tuning into your thoughts, feelings, and intuition and following a course of action that “feels right” to you. You have more information about yourself and your needs than anyone else. When you trust yourself, you believe that your own sense of what you should do is the course of action most likely to lead you to satisfying a outcome. By trusting yourself and following a course of action true to who you are, you also become more able to handle anything that results from your decisions, even when it’s not the outcome you were hoping for. Being open to your experience and living in the moment provide the tools you need to increase your trust in yourself.
4. The Process of Functioning More Fully
The process of functioning more fully is what happens when you’re experiencing the first three traits of “the good life”. When you’re in this process, you’re open to experiencing each one of your feelings and reactions and developing an awareness of what’s happening from moment to moment both within yourself and in your surroundings. You can trust in yourself more, believe in your own wisdom, and be comfortable with the outcomes of your actions. Functioning more fully also means that you can feel more free to be yourself and to simply be. Functioning more fully allows you to experience a greater sense of freedom, satisfaction, and fulfilment in your life. The process of functioning more fully is key to the process of living “the good life”.
Living “the good life” can be difficult; it’s a lifelong journey. Counselling and psychotherapy can support you on your journey to becoming more open to your experience, living in the moment, trusting yourself, and functioning more fully.
The team at Real People Counselling provides supportive, caring, non-judgemental counselling and psychotherapy in the Melbourne CBD. If you’re interested in exploring these processes and “the good life”, contact us for an appointment.