Congruency – The Key to Happiness
The question of happiness is one that absolutely baffles me. I mean, what exactly is happiness? How can one quantify it? To be honest, I’m not sure. The monk will tell you that happiness is present state awareness and living a life unattached to outside circumstance. Ask someone else; they’ll tell you that happiness is having kids, being financially secure or being surrounded with great people. All of these things can help but how happy you are is not about when you’re with your friends or hanging out with family. The essence of happiness is much deeper. It is whether you can sit with yourself and be content with life. Can you sit in solitude and enjoy it or are you always distracted and agitated? When all is said and done, did you actually allow yourself to love yourself? Because most people in life don’t allow this. Lots of people simply do not allow themselves to love themselves. I have tried to come up with a simpler way to be happy and cut away all the B.S. I have thought about it deeply and I have asked myself questions about when I’m feeling my best, my worst and anywhere in between. From there I have been able to see what I am doing during these particular periods of blissful existence or mental torture. What I have found is nearly too simple to be true.
What is Congruency?
During a long conversation in France with a coach and friend of mine, he said a word that I had never heard before and it struck a chord with me. The conversation was about achievement and success and how it isn’t always in direct correlation with happiness and contentment in life. The word he used was congruency, something he had learned about while working with his own psychologist. His psychologist asked him was he being congruent in his life – meaning that, are his actions on a daily basis in alignment with 1. What he expects from himself and 2. What he wants out of life. And the answer was a no. When the conversation ended, I kind of wished I had recorded it to play it back but I then realized that if it was important enough to me, I’d remember it.
As I have touched upon in a previous post, before I knew the word congruency even existed, I talked about my battle with depression and the sheer hatred I had of myself. Exactly what I believe caused me to become so anxious and self-sabotaging was realized when I learned that someone else had been having the same problems. For the period of time that I struggled with my mentality, I was being as incongruent as I could be. I had high aspirations, but you’d have found a better work ethic on a Wednesday morning in your local pub. I’m definitely aware that life isn’t all about hard work, relentless pursuit of goals or an existence that is concerned with outer success – but I am also very aware that a life well lived is one that gives you the best chance to do what you want to do. The truth is, hard work is difficult and often times more difficult than one can imagine but that hard work is also gratifying. The hard work, whatever it is, helps you feel good about yourself.
Hard work might not mean running 20 miles today – hard work might mean taking the day off and spending the full day with your child or your spouse and committing to being completely undistracted. Hard work might mean committing to a present state awareness so that every time you find yourself or your mind wandering, you catch yourself and bring yourself back to the present. Hard work might even be giving up social media for 30 days because you understand the adverse effects that being consumed by your phone can have on you. Hard work could be reading 10 pages of a book every night to enrich your life and your mind.
Hard work differs from person to person but congruency doesn’t. Simply living a life that is in direct alignment with your goals and values is a congruent life. Have you ever valued something deeply but simply not worked for it? Perhaps you crave time with your family but you always seem distracted when you’re all together because you have the feeling that it is infinite, that the present moment will never end. We are all very aware of all the different ways to become incongruent but when you experience the sheer fulfillment of doing what you said you are going to do, then you’ll be on your way to experiencing true happiness.
For now, I want you to take the time to analyze and think about how congruent you are in your life. I want you to ask yourself difficult questions and answer them honestly. I want you to take 30 minutes out of your day tomorrow to get a better understanding of where you are and where you want to go.
In part two of this post, I will elaborate more on congruency and how it can not only help you achieve your goals but also help you achieve a state of happiness that you might not have experienced in the past.