What is Congruency?
The best definition of congruency as it relates to people (as opposed to the mathematical definition) that I have found comes from Nero Linguistic Programming.
Congruent: “When all of a person’s internal beliefs, strategies, and behaviors are fully in agreement and oriented toward securing a desired outcome.”
Essentially, you are congruent when your words, voice, body language, and actions give the same message.
We use many other positive terms to describe someone who is congruent: reliable, consistent, steady, honorable, honest, having good vibes. When someone has ideas or behaviours similar to ours, and is congruent with us, we say they are in sync with with us, in the groove, like-minded, or on the same wavelength.
Why do teaching Creativity and Congruency go together?
“You can have your dream, you just can’t have all of your dreams at once.”
Congruency allows you to add some direction to your creativity. The world is full of creative opportunities, experiences, and things to learn about. If your internal beliefs, behaviours and actions are all working together it leads to success. Living in a way that is congruent with your dreams, goals and values also makes establishing priorities and making decisions easier. A quick internal check will let you know if this particular action you are considering is for your highest good.
Leading By Example VS. “Do as I say, not as I do”:
Leading by example will always take more work in the short term but it’s much more rewarding and effective. Leading by example is the best way of modeling congruency. It’s the difference between telling your kids to “go be creative,” “go outside,” or “try something new” and showing your kids how to be creative, how to play outside, or how to try something new. The former is likely to be met with considerable resistance, the latter is an opportunity to make memories and share experiences together.
Kids are observant, there is no way around it. They don’t just consider verbal instructions; they strive to put verbal into context with body language, actions, and their environment. It is how they learn about the world and process information. This is why telling a child who is a picky eater to eat just because it’s good for them only works if you are willing to too!
How do you teach Congruent Living?
Living congruently is learning how to take a situation and look at it critically from every angle and measuring it against your values. This is a skill that you can pass on to your children. Learning opportunities are everywhere. For example if your child comes home upset because they watched a program about the Garbage Island in the Pacific Ocean, you can either placate and distract them, or you can use it as a creative learning opportunity. How do your behaviours and habits as an individual or family make a difference? How can you live in such a way that you help, rather then harm, your surroundings?
This is a great chance to incorporate different learning styles and multiple intelligences into your activities, so please read through my article on Multiple Intelligences if you haven’t already.
If your family embraces the value of congruency, it is also an effective way to bring contrary or undesirable behaviours up short. Sometimes simply asking a family member if they are being congruent (or an easier word for younger children, however they understand the concept) is enough to make them stop and look at their actions. if you do this, be prepared to be called on and humbled by some of your non-congruent behaviours too.
There are many spiritual and self-help books out there and many of them refer to the idea of congruency, even if they do not mention it by name. When your internal beliefs, strategies, and behaviours are fully in agreement people sit up and take notice. You have a “presence” which, unfortunately, is becoming less common as society, and media tends to teach us that our words, actions, and beliefs don’t have to match if it is not convenient.
Being congruent allows you to approach creativity with a solid foundation and the security that any creative endeavour you pursue is in-line with your beliefs and highest good. This is powerful stuff.
Do you try to live congruently? What are some of the challenges you face? What are your successes?