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Congruence and incongruence

Articles on NLP
Working to bring change to ourselves can be easy when we are congruent, that is we are in harmony with ourselves and fully dedicated to the change. We are incongruent when we experience internal conflict which does not facilitate the process of change.

Internal conflict arises when we are split between wanting to do two things at the same time but we can’t do them simultaneously. One example is when someone asks us a favour. We are internally torn between wanting to do them the favour and to continue doing what we are doing. Here, our body language and voice tone differ. We may tell them ‘yes’ but our body sign lacks the enthusiasm.

The other example is when we are in a state of uncertainty between two conflicting options. One part of us wants to do something while the other has another idea to, say, have a drink at the local pub. We want to do both at the present moment.

There are times when we find ourselves associated with incongruent people who make us feel unsure of ourselves as to how to deal with them. They may say yes in agreement to go along or do something with us. But their facial expression does not match their affirmative response. Their reply may be, “Yes, sure” but the expression on their face clearly lacks enthusiasm. Other incongruent people willingly promise to do you a favour. Then they change their mind.

Understanding the incongruence in other people makes it easier for us to accept it as a normal occurrence. We only need to seek clarification of their incongruence by asking for the reason for their unenthusiastic look when they give a positive reply or their change of mind. It’s desirable to understand their incongruence as there may well be something else that has to be dealt with.

We of course are not congruent with every person we meet. The way we behave when we are with our girlfriends differs from that when we are with our male friends. Our attitudes towards our parents, teachers, the doctor who treats us or even the policeman who stops us for a traffic infringement are unlikely to be the same.

We are made up of different parts and each part is brought into operation for each different situation we are in or each person we meet. When the different parts are united in one whole, we are congruent.