In Psychology, there is a term called Congruence coined by a famous humanistic psychologist named Carl Rogers. Congruence is a state where a person’s self-image is almost in line with his/her ideal self or the person he/she aims to become. This involves actual experiences, goals, and ambitions, and other aspects that makes someone who they are. The more our self-image aligns with our ideal self, the more we develop our self-worth, on the contrary, the more they diverge from each other, the more we are feeling inauthentic.
Being congruent is being able to stay connected to ourselves, feelings, and perspectives. Unfortunately, for many of us our self image has become tainted by our need to maintain a certain public image. This is more the case now given how our society have evolved and with the existence of modern technology. It is now easy to hide behind highly curated social media feeds, external achievements, or unhealthy relationships and neglect the need to align our experiences to who we are as a person.
Showing the real parts of us can be very nerve-wracking because it’s often met with disapproval especially when it does not conform with what is expected of us. This is why at times, we can’t help but seek the validation of other people because it gives us a temporary sense of value but without realising that it devaluates our self-worth in the long run. The more we move away from who we are, the more unhappy we become and this does not seem sustainable at all. We cannot simply rely on external aspects to fill in the gaps within ourselves.
Thinking about these made me wonder how many of us have actually become way too entangled with prioritising how we appear in public instead of working towards cultivating our self image to become congruent to who we strive to become. This prompted me to broach the subject as I, myself, is a witness of how much of a struggle it can be avoiding to succumb to the mainstream. I want to remind myself and my readers of the importance of being raw, of expressing our feelings and emotions even when it’s uncomfortable. We don’t always have to accommodate and please people.
I want to be reminded that we can remove ourselves from people and situations that does not reflect our values, and that we can simply be ourselves without needing to create a well-liked public image. We don’t have to post perfect picture shots all the time, or feel obliged to be there for someone when we are not in a good head space ourselves just so they can call us a good friend. We don’t need to have a string of followers, likes, or “hearts” because those numbers does not reflect who we are. We don’t have to fake our experiences just so we can tell a good story and most importantly, we don’t have to depend our worth solely on other people’s evaluation.
The way we see ourselves is more important than how other people see us and this is a relationship that we should grow more than anything else. I am hopeful that we are all capable of achieving some level of congruence and it is possible to live as authentically as we know how. It takes a lot of work for sure but every step we take brings us closer to a more rewarding sense of congruence.