Being Congruent : Meaning what we say, and saying what we Mean.
Our language matters profoundly. The words we say to ourselves and others in our lives create lasting impact. I have believed this and tried to hold onto this awareness for most of my life, but this idea has become so much more powerful to me in the past few years as I have entered on an intentional journey of congruence. I once heard a wise person in my life explain it this way, “congruence is not saying everything I think or feel, but that everything I say would be an accurate reflection of what I feel.” I’ve noticed that words slip out of myself and I sometimes wonder, “do I really mean that?” “Does that actually represent what I believe about myself, about life, about people?” I think we all do this sometimes. I’m not talking about intentionally mean or degrading comments- that is another conversation for another time. I’m talking about the mundane, overused sayings or the sarcastic comments or the empty platitudes that all of us find ourselves using without really thinking.
Since becoming pregnant, I’ve found two phrases that are a dime a dozen are “mom to be” and “starting a family.” I’ve used both these phrases before, but all of a sudden they hit me in a new way. Am I not a mom right now in this very moment as I carry my little boy inside of me, loving him, feeling him move, dreaming of his future, preparing for the next stage of his life, and even changing my own lifestyle to protect him as best as possible? Is this not what a mom does? Or when it comes to “starting a family” how do these words impact the couple who is struggling to conceive children or the couple who has chosen not to have children? Are they not a family just as they are?
Hear me when I say this, I believe these statements are typically made with great intentions, and even love and excitement in mind, but do they really fit with what we believe to be true? Do they actually express what we are hoping for, or are they simply conveniently overused?
This is not about judgment. This is about curiosity; about wanting more; wanting better; wanting wholeness. Can I be curious with myself when I speak words that don’t quite fit? Can we allow ourselves to pause and ask, “Do I really mean that?Is that what I actually want to communicate?” And further, when we discover that maybe our words don’t fit can we give ourselves permission to change? To more fully represent ourselves well?
What if, when I encounter someone in pain, instead of telling them that everything is going to be ok, I could tell them that this is hard and I am here? I can’t promise that everything will be ok! Sometimes life blows up. I can honour their pain by calling it what it is- painful, and promising to be close when they need me.
We often talk to ourselves this way too. We can land on one spectrum or the other, either- “I’m not enough. I will fail. I am unlovable” or “Nothing can hurt me. I’m tougher than this. I’m invincible.” What if we could be gentle with ourselves and say, “I might fail, this is really hard, and I might be disappointed, but I also might experience something wonderful and EITHER way I have value. I am lovable.”
My hope is that I would treasure and value my words and honour their gravity and potential impact. What would it feel like to stay curious with ourselves and speak words that come from inside, or words that we have thought about and decided we can adopt as our own? When I speak with purpose I honour the fullness of who I have been created to be and the uniqueness and value of any other human being standing in front of me. Good intentions are great. Lets keep having good intentions, but what freedom and deep connection could we experience if we allowed ourselves space to stop, become curious, and speak from within.
Kathryn Morelli MA, RCC