All the loose ends are now falling into place. Everything
in perfect alignment. There is an exact
correspondence between what should be, what can be, and what is.
A simple and profound elegance becomes apparent. This is congruence; an integration forming a coherent whole that creates a
- Agreement, harmony, conformity, or correspondence.
- Exact fit, alignment
Roots: Middle English, from Latin congruere to come together, fit
Congruence refers to agreement among the various elements or components of
a system. Synonyms include: accordance, alignment, conformance, conformity, congruity,
correspondence, and harmony. Antonyms include: incongruence,
discordance, misfit, nonconformance, confusion, and misalignment.
Congruence in Social Interactions
We notice the congruence of
social interactions in a variety of constructive contexts. These include the
virtues of veracity, candor,
trust, responsibility, autonomy, apology, forgiveness, dignity, stature, humility,
contentment, and authentic behavior.
Incongruence is often at the root of negative and often
stressful and destructive behaviors such as
deception, irresponsibility, manipulation, arrogance, resentment, and phony behavior.
Veracity is conformity to truth or fact. It is the alignment of what you say
and what you do, and the alignment of what you say and what is fact. This is the
accurate, reliable, and authentic expression we call candor.
The congruence of veracity includes alignment between the intent and the the
words, between the thoughts and the intent, between the words and the feelings,
between the verbal and non-verbal expression, between the facts and the words,
between the words and the actions, and congruence between the speaker and
listener as humans who respect each other as equals. Congruence between thinking
evidence, goals, beliefs,
values, and doubts is especially important to candor.
Deception is the misalignment between what is communicated and what is true.
Trust is the alignment of future actions with present promises. We
trust someone when what they do is congruent with what
they say. It is another instance of veracity.
Manipulation is the misalignment of appearance, intent, and action.
Responsibility is choosing to align our actions
with our values. It requires an alignment with the
reality of what is, not the fantasy of what we wish
it was. Responsible actions are aligned with the very best we can do. Our words
and actions in the past, present, and future all correspond accurately and
Irresponsible behavior is the misalignment of actions and widely
accepted pro-social values.
Autonomy aligns the
locus of control with the control mechanism. It
is a congruence between the controlling organism (our choice of what to do) and
the controlled organism (our ability to act on that choice and live by the
consequences of that choice).
Attempts by others to control you, or by you to
control others are incongruent because the will is not aligned with the
An apology restores the congruence between what we
acknowledge to ourselves and what we acknowledge to others
when we blame ourselves
for their loss.
Defiance maintains a misalignment between the blame we deserve and the
responsibility we will acknowledge.
Forgiveness is the decision to align your passions with what is possible. The
painful loss you suffered naturally results in
vindictive passions. All you can think
about is getting revenge. However, no amount of revenge can ever restore what you
have lost. Instead this obsession with revenge is tearing at you. Forgiveness is
about releasing yourself from destructive emotions and a hurtful
past. Forgiveness restores the congruence between what you desire and what is
possible and constructive.
Resentment is the misalignment of what you urgently want to have happen and
the futility of recovering what has been lost forever.
Dignity is an alignment between respect we show
others and the intrinsic worthiness of each human life. It is a congruence
between the respect we demonstrate and the intrinsic
legitimacy of each person.
Disrespect, indignity, and contempt are the misalignment
between respect shown toward a person and that person's intrinsic worth.
Stature is an alignment between the esteem we hold
toward a person and the pro-social contributions they make. It is a congruence
between the positive regard we have toward someone and all that they add
to our world.
Humility is the alignment between the your self-image and an objective
assessment of the relative value of your achievements, limitations, and
intrinsic worth. It is congruence between the image you hold of yourself, the
image you project of yourself, and
the reality of our own limitations based on an accurate and modest estimate of
your importance and significance.
Arrogance is the misalignment between projected image and relative worth.
Contented people have what they want. It is the alignment of what you want with what you
need, and what you have with what you want. Want what you have
and you will have what you want. You don't need much.
Discontentment is the misalignment between what you want and what you have.
We are behaving authentically when our
beliefs, actions, goals, and results
are aligned with who we are—our self. It is a
congruence between our actions and our strengths,
values and goals. We become
authentic when the path we choose through life is
congruent with who we are. It is a congruence between who we are and what we do.
An authentic choice is a decision congruent
with doing your best.
“As simple as possible and no simpler” ~ Albert Einstein