Being congruent

I have been told that I use the word “congruence” a lot when working with groups. To me congruence is a very important word when considering the subject of self-awareness.

Literally, congruence means “the state achieved by coming together, the state of agreement”. The Latin congruere means to come together, agree. As an abstract term, congruence means similarity between objects.

I use it when describing communications styles, to build awareness around the importance of the communications messages that your body language and use of voice can add to the words. As human beings, one of the survival behaviours we have learnt is to act as human lie detectors. We scan each other for sincerity, to see if we can trust the messages we are receiving. We know if people aren’t being congruent and therefore treat them with suspicion.

We also know if we are being incongruent ourselves. I remember working for an organisation where I felt that the approach and values of the leadership team were not congruent with my own.  It was very uncomfortable, so I left.

We can therefore consider congruence as being in rapport with ourselves and others.  When this happens people perceive us as being sincere, genuine, transparent, authentic and real.

However, achieving this degree of internal and external consistency is not easy.  It requires us significant amounts of self-awareness, self-acceptance and courage.  Self-awareness to really understand our core values and principles; self-acceptance to be honest enough to accept ourselves for who we are and courage to stand up for our values and beliefs.

So, take some time to think about your core values and consciously choose to be congruent every day.

As Dr Seuss, the highly creative children’ author says “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.”


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