This word is perhaps not as emphasised as it should be. But it plays a huge role in gaining credibility in your life. If people see this one quality in you, undoubtedly you’ve hit the right chord then. People will find it easy to trust you when you are congruent.
But before we delve deeper, what is congruence? In the simplest of terms, congruence means ‘sameness’. In our current context, congruence means, what you say, what you do, and what you think are in alignment with each other. People will not have to guess what’s the hidden agenda or doubt you when you say something.
Or in other words –
If you are able to :
- say what you mean, (without being unkind or opinionated about it)
- fulfil what you say (without giving excuses for not doing it)
- show what you feel (without holding them responsible for it)
- and be what you believe (without being apologetic about it)
you are being congruent.
Let’s explore each of them with a little more context.
- Say what you mean – There are two aspects to this – Firstly, saying what you mean is very important. If you say things for the heck of it, people will know you don’t mean what you say. They look at you with doubt and perhaps will never reach out to you if they ever need a true friend. You may lose your credibility.
- Secondly, It is very important to remember that your freedom ends where their nose begins. Which means, as much freedom as one may have to speak their mind, it is important to do so without being unkind or opinionated about it. Liberty comes with the responsibility of being mindful of others’ feelings. This sentence comes like a contradiction to the first point right? Not really! It doesn’t mean we hide the truth. We find respectful ways of saying it – with the intention of not throwing things at their face, or letting steam out of ourselves but more with an intention that it might help them. Dealing with people in a sensitive way is very important. We underestimate that our words actually have the capacity to break people and sometimes, make them feel worthless! That’s criminal! But if done in a sensitive way, we can have a great bonding and great impact.
- Fulfil what you say – this cannot be emphasised enough. Credibility is built on this – word by word – action by action! We find it easy to commit to people and sometimes, just as easy to not fulfil it too. Do yourself a favour – don’t commit unless you are certain. If for any reason, you are unable to fulfil it, let them know beforehand. Don’t wait for a reminder from them or even worse, don’t wait thinking they might forget. An essential part of meaning what you say comes from fulfilling what you say. If not, what you say remains incongruent. Your best of intentions will not yield you a positive reputation if you can’t remember and fulfil your commitments. It’s your follow-up action that counts. It doesn’t matter whether it is to a child or an adult – the more you give importance to keeping your word, the more seriously one takes you, the more they trust you and the more they keep their word when it comes to you too. You lead the way through your actions.
- Show what you feel – We have often been told, ‘Be brave, don’t cry, be strong’ and what not! We have pretty much been taught that we should not express our feelings and mask it up with bravery and smile. When we do this, we set an undue pressure on others also to eat up their sorrows. So, if you notice, many people are walking around like pressure cookers – ready to burst any minute. But unwilling to show or say what’s bothering them. Prolonged periods of doing this cause depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts too. It’s okay to be not okay. It’s okay to show that you are not feeling okay too. And it is important to do so. People will be more mindful if they have a context and a deeper understanding of you. And only you can give them that.
- The only caveat here being, don’t hold others responsible for what you are feeling. Triggers can be external, but they aren’t the cause. Feelings are internal and a result of how we process the trigger. The same trigger doesn’t have the same effect on everyone else. Hence, take responsibility for what you are feeling. Don’t blame others. And neither yourself. Just own it saying, “I feel angry” instead of “you make me angry”. “I feel hurt” instead of “you hurt me”. We could feel hurt because we misinterpreted someone’s action too. So, leave scope for conversation by not attacking them with an accusation.
- Be what you believe – The world, your family, or society can have their own sweet definitions of how they want you to be. But unless you believe, don’t be it. Be what you truly believe in being. Not out of fear, not out of compulsion, not wanting to simply stand out, not to prove to others – be something because you believe in it. Because you believe it will add value to not just you but many around you. Your belief gives you new confidence, a new strength, a new purpose. You will be able to stand tall even if you ever fall. With borrowed feathers, you can’t fly too high. Build your own. However they may be, you made them yourself. Only when you allow yourself to be, will you allow others to be themselves too. Most people demand others to be something because they succumbed to it too. It can become a vicious circle unless you choose to put an end to it.
Being in a state of congruence will not only earn you the goodwill of people around you but more importantly, help you lead a meaningful life. There will be less of fears, constrictions, and a feeling of being suffocated. There will be more freedom and joy in your expression. You will flow freely in your life despite the roadblocks that you may encounter. Gift yourself the joy of congruence and you will be inspired being yourself. Stay blessed! Stay congruent!