I’m realizing more and more the importance and value of one (of many, many) lesson my mom taught me: congruence. Congruence is when all of your wishes and beliefs come together with all your actions. Alignment, as she often referred to it as, is really one of the more difficult things for people to find in their lives. The truth is we tend to have so many inconsistencies in our daily lives, and I am starting to see how these can really hold us back. Living in constant conflict is like trying to lose weight by lifting weights and eating nothing but cupcakes. No matter how hard or often you lift weights, as long as you’re eating those cupcakes you’re never going to see any progress in your weight loss.
In pressure to be all things to all people we tend to put on different faces and thinking hats in different aspect of our lives. While I believe it is natural to wear different masks to different people, obviously there are times where we are more comfortable than others and therefore what we reveal to the world is different, but I think when we start acting differently is when we get into trouble. If with some people and situations you tell yourself (and others) that you hate littering, but while driving you toss your cigarette (HATE THIS) or gum wrapper (equally as bad) on to the street, you’re living a conflict. IF you tell yourself that money doesn’t matter (like I have) but continually work on projects where really the end goal is to make money (which I’ve been doing), then you’re living in conflict. It’s ok for money to be the end goal as long as you can honestly tell yourself that it is important, and therefore move closer to alignment in your life. Alignment makes your goals much more likely to come to fruition (because you’re setting goals you care more about, and everything you do in your life should take you closer to reaching those goals) and your values and beliefs much more meaningful.
There is a great restaurant here in Columbus that I visited today and got me thinking again about congruence. It’s place where you can really see what the owner(s)/founder(s) believe in, and it touches all aspects of the dining experience they provide. They believe very strongly in ability of nature to create flavor, so everything in the restaurant is organic with no short cuts or preservatives. They not only fulfill this belief by buying the freshest ingredients but they are also members of the 1% for the planet fund(1% of all sales are donated to improving the environment), use only recycled paper products, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are conservative with their water and electricity consumption. They do things because they are important to them, not because they can be written off or because it makes them look good, but because they are aware of their beliefs and how they can be maintained in all aspects of their business. You can see things clicking on all cylinders of this place, from the interior design to the people who serve you with a smile, to the food quality (of course), to the constant line of eager customers to get in.
This is why I’m working so hard to get an understanding of what my values and beliefs are, so that I can act with congruity throughout all facets of my life. I believe that a point of alignment can be reached where things feel energetic yet natural, honest, open, and important. It starts with a general understanding of purpose, then a discovery of beliefs and values, goals, and awareness of daily actions. A little personal discovery never hurt anyone.
4 comments on “Congruence”
What is the name of the restaurant?
To me, money is a fine end goal, ONLY if you enjoy every day leading up to that end goal, when you are not making any money. If you don’t enjoy the day to day process, your not happy, no matter how much potential payoff there is at the end. Life is what happens when your planning 🙂
I agree that life is what happens while you’re planning…(the famous John Lennon line). I believe though that money can’t really be an end goal, and telling yourself that makes it much harder to get what you really want. No one really wants money. They want the freedom, the power, the comfort, the security, etc associated with having a fair amount of money. When you understand why it is that you want the money (again to be free, or to be secure, etc) you can start to get a clearer picture on how to go about getting there with a smile on your face everyday. For me the end goal is to be happy…I’m just trying to a learn a little about this life and this world, as well as improve some thing along the way.
hi dan… it was nice talking with you yesterday. i just wanted to comment on your post. i enjoyed it very much. your point on congruence is something i have been struggling with myself. i guess struggling isn’t the right word, but more like learning about. i say i want to get out and do a lot of volunteer work and spend a few hours of my time each week really helping others, but i just don’t have the time with all the things i get bogged down with during the course of the week… so i never end up really doing it. sometime in the near future i hope i actually get the courage to make this a reality.now i’m no expert, but i guess after reading what you wrote, “for me the end goal is to be happy…” i think you are right on… but the next step is sitting down and actually thinking WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY! like the restuarant owner is made happy by doing things that help the environment, so that’s what they do… and they are happy. in terms of what my end goal is… i am working toward a career where i can really connect with people. i think i could be happy doing anything as long i could really connect personally with people. if money came of that, great… but the personal connection is really what i am seeking. thanks again for the post dan… keep them coming.