Emotion Commotion: Congruence

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Written by Kimberly Elmore

Congruence. It’s not an emotion; however, this word influences our emotions and the role(s) we allow our emotions to play in our lives. The purpose of this “EC” column in this issue of Identity, is for you to ask yourself this question: “Am I living with congruence?”

Congruence. It’s not an emotion; however, this word influences our emotions and the role(s) we allow our emotions to play in our lives. The purpose of this “EC” column in this issue of Identity, is for you to ask yourself this question: “Am I living with congruence?”

To assist you in answering that question, let’s first begin with the definition of the word.

Congruence is defined as: the quality of agreeing; being suitable and appropriate; harmonious; compatibility in opinion and action.

Now, let’s apply that definition to some real life examples.


Recently, a status update appeared in my Facebook newsfeed that (and I’m paraphrasing) said a stranger accused her/him of lacking compassion. This Facebook poster went on to state that he/she felt joy in knowing that this person probably had a miserable, lonely life.

I understood this person’s frustration (especially because I know the details of what prompted this statement); however, I thought to myself, “hmmm, is this statement demonstrating how compassionate this person is or no?”

I know this poster very well (we are “real life” friends, not just online friends) and I know this friend is compassionate; so I’m not questioning that. At the time I didn’t know there was a word for what I was questioning. But, I’ve come to learn that what I was questioning was the level of congruence. To imply, ‘I’m a compassionate person’ and then go on to say ‘another’s misery brings me joy’; is that a congruent statement?

I then asked that question of myself. Do I live with congruence? When in my life have I made a comment like that? I surely have. We all have, haven’t we?

Several weeks later, I received an email from a website blog I subscribe to (Positively Positive) and the title of the blog was “Turning an Insult into an Opportunity for Love.” That title immediately grabbed my attention — so, I began reading.

The blogger Jennifer told a story about how a stranger posted something to her Facebook page that she initially found insulting. The person accused her of being “too annoying and superficial to be a yoga inspiration.” Jennifer’s initial reaction was defensive in nature.

Jennifer then looked up her “insulter’s” profile and found this Mother Theresa quote: “I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love,” and her religious views were “love and peace” and were written over and over again.

Jennifer’s next thought was, “where is the congruence?” This person’s profile talked about love and peace, yet her comment wasn’t about love and peace.

Jennifer then examined herself. She asked herself, “where am I posting love and peace, love and peace, love and peace, yet living hate and gossip?”

This “ah-ha moment” dressed up as insult, caused Jennifer to look inward – and bring to light that, to some degree, we all do this. We all have some discrepancy in our lives, at varying levels. Instead of being insulted and responding in a defensive manner, Jennifer reframed the insult into an opportunity to learn more about herself and grow as a person.

This raises the question, “do you practice what you preach?”

If you “preach” acceptance, ask yourself, “when am I passing judgment, when I should be accepting?”

If you “preach” compassion, ask yourself, “when am I being cold, when I should be compassionate?”

If you “preach” understanding, ask yourself, “when am I making assumptions or demanding to be understood, when I should first seek to understand someone else?”

Ask these questions of yourself by replacing “acceptance,” “compassion,” and “understanding” with your beliefs and values.

By asking questions like these, you are asking yourself whether or not you are living with congruence. Are your thoughts, words, and behaviors in alignment?

After reading Jennifer’s blog, I’ve begun challenging myself to change my way of thinking, which will ultimately change my words and my behavior. I really try to live with more congruence. I do my best to think before I speak (or send an email). I challenge myself to align my thoughts with my words and my words with my behaviors. Sometimes I succeed, and sometimes I need to do better next time.

I challenge you to ask yourself questions to dig deep and push yourself to an awareness that will lead you to live with more congruence.

“I cannot always control what goes on outside. But I can always control what goes on inside.”–Wayne Dyer

Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life — Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.TM Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.

What have you accepted in your life that took time, physically or mentally?

That I will never be a size 2 or 5’ (Ha!). We all come in different shapes and sizes and I try not to get caught up in the body image issues that stem from the (air brushed) women who are on the cover of magazines. I think what’s most important is to be healthy and comfortable in one’s skin.

What do you appreciate about yourself and within your life?

What I appreciate in my life is my friends. I’m very lucky that I have a close network of friends who have become family.

What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What goals do you still have?

At my job, my position has changed drastically from when I first started, which I credit largely to being self motivated (as well as to the professional opportunities my boss and other colleagues have provided to me). Professionally, my goal is to continue to learn and build my leadership skills.

What is your not-so-perfect way? What imperfections and quirks create your Identity?

I use a lot of detail when I talk, some of it is often not necessary to what I’m talking about. J

How would you complete the phrase “I Love My…?”

I love my…smile.

About the author

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Kimberly Elmore

Identity writer Kimberly Elmore is currently employed by Delta Dental of New Jersey in the corporate communications department as the community relations coordinator. She serves as one of our top and longest contributors.

Kimberly has been a huge part of Identity's success since the beginning of 2006. During Kimberly's college years she served as the arts & entertainment editor of her college newspaper and interned in the public relations department at the March of Dimes.


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