If you are practicing living life consciously, cultivating the skill set of “Walking Your Talk” is an important task. This is the quality of being congruent. In all spiritual traditions, one of the all-abiding Truths is “as above, so below,” indicating that being one with yourself on the outside as well as on the inside is a practice worthy of inquiry. Another common saying that alludes to this is “honesty is the best policy.”
Here is the main challenge that I see with the practice of congruency
I notice that most people bring “honesty is the best policy” into play with their outside world, before they bring it into play in their inside world. So the first and foremost rule of this practice is to make honesty with YOURSELF the priority. Most of the time we are not congruent is because we haven’t built the soul stamina or a friendly relationship with ourselves to withstand taking an honest look at what we really want. We look to follow rules and mores that have been conscribed to us by our family, our church, our work environment, our partners and (most of all) our inner critical self. When we take that stance, our inner truth becomes covered by what we are told we “should” hold as truth, and after a time, we find that we are living our lives in a way that doesn’t feel authentic, and we find ourselves getting bored, apathetic and frustrated.
This can sometimes lead to you declaring your truth to everyone around you, which can put you in a real mess. You may lose your friends or your job. Then, because connection with others and putting food on the table is appropriately important to your survival, you will give up walking your talk because it isn’t working.
So, I invite you to try it a different approach – living life consciously.
Do the work of carving out regular time to discover who you are authentically. Give up the need to tell everyone or let go of your job because it isn’t soul fulfilling. Concentrate on being completely honest with yourself and cultivating a friendly authentic relationship with yourself. Once you really get to know yourself, then start to extend your congruency practice out in the world. This will give you the opportunity to choose to share your inner truth in a discerning way, providing your gifts and the light that is your the knowledge so that you will keep them safe.
When you become honest with yourself and discerning in how you share your authenticity, you can stay in a job that provides food and shelter but not soul satisfaction because you provide that satisfaction for yourself whether you are at work or not. You get to choose to stay in relationship with someone in honoring your need for connection rather than looking outside yourself to provide you with a sense of authenticity which, if you are congruent, you provide for yourself.
To honor the practical aspect of a congruency practice, work on being Clear, Concise, Direct and Truthful. Remember to cultivate these qualities in yourself before you bring them into your outer world. What do I mean by these words? Here are some tips to help you along:
- Take care of your body by drinking enough water, eating healthily and getting enough sleep.
- Cultivate an open-mind by being curious and allowing around your so called solid beliefs.
- Allow your emotions to move through you rather than holding on to them for a long time.
- Practice energy hygiene every day.
- Start a journal where, after you have articulated (in an unedited way) your internal landscape, you go back and define words that are general. Like: “good,” “bad,” “weird,” “right,” “wrong.”
- Integrate information before articulating your response. Practice a delayed reply to feedback or requests. Let, “Thank you for the information, I’ll get back to you with a response…” be your answer.
When you find yourself “dilly-dallying” around with trying to communicate something or if someone is not understanding what you are trying to articulate, it is a sure sign that something is up in your congruency “department.” Once again, the most important person to be direct with is yourself, so strive to be so. If it is difficult to be direct in communication with someone else, then there may be a reason for that…like: it may not be safe or the right time to share your authentic self with that person. I invite you to not communicate until you can be direct. This skill is one that I work on with a lot of my clients. So, consider spending some time with your counselor or spiritual director to learn how to be direct in your communications.
It may not be appropriate to lay out the whole true story when you are communicating to others. What I wish for you is to be truthful to yourself. Do you know what “your truth” is? What if, for example, you really hate the job you are in? Can you accept that truth for yourself and bring that valid experience of yourself into a realistic self-inquiry? This skill requires self-compassion…..treat yourself kindly as you walk gently through gleaning your personal truth.