Sunday, September 12, 2010
Personal congruence refers to a state in which a person's values and beliefs are consistent with the way he or she lives his or her life. A person achieves personal congruence when what goes on in his internal world is consistent with what he says and does in his external one. Dieter Pauwels (lifecoaching.dieterpauwels.com) explains that, "On a deeper level, personal congruency exists when your true desires (intention), your thoughts (attention), feelings, and actions are aligned with your core values."
Why does this matter? The reason is inherent in the definition of the term congruence. Personal congruence leads to internal harmony. It enables a person to be at peace with himself and therefore to experience true joy in life. Without it, a person is left feeling conflicted, confused, and unfulfilled.
How do you cultivate personal congruence? There are a number of ways to do so and I won't attempt to create an exhaustive list. It seems to me, though, that if you want the way you live to be congruent with your values and beliefs then the logical first step would be to identify what you value most in life. After all, you cannot live in accordance with your values if you are not sure what those values are.
So go ahead -- make a list of your top ten values. Then narrow it down to your top five. For those who need it, here is a list of common values to get you thinking:
Family relationships; friendships; career; money; education; fun/leisure time; spirituality/religion; community interaction; politics; physical health; change/variety/excitement; creativity; helping others; intellectual stimulation/knowledge; independence; belonging; public recognition; etc.
Once you've identified your top five values think about what you do on a regular basis that exemplifies each one. For example, if you value physical health you might write, "I exercise four days per week." If you value family you might put, "I call Mom three times a week" or "I visit my sister weekly."
When and/or if you come to a value for which you are unable to identify an accompanying action that exemplifies it you have identified an area in your life that needs work. Identify one thing you can do (preferably on a regular basis) to exemplify this value and develop a plan for doing it. Start small if you need to -- maybe exercise once or twice a week to start, for example -- and then work your way to where you want to be.
I hope this is helpful...