You have already learnt about the five of six pillars of high self-esteem by Nathaniel Branden. Today I will present you how to practise personal congruence.
What Is Personal Congruence
Without practising personal congruence, the preceding pillars disintegrate. Here is the definition: “Integrity (i.e. personal congruence) is the integration of ideals, convictions, standards, beliefs — and behaviour,” writes Branden. “When our behaviour is congruent with our professed values when ideals and practise match up, we have integrity.”
Ask yourself a question and answer it as honestly as you can:
Do your ideals, convictions, standards, beliefs and behaviour all line up?
Then answer another, even more, important question:
Do you have a sense of what your ideals, convictions, standards and beliefs are to use as a basis for measuring how you are doing?
The Principles Of Personal Congruence
There are some principles according to which you can see your life full of integrity. Here they are:
- When your behaviour is congruent with our professed values, when ideals and practice match, you have personal integrity.
- Integrity assumes increasing your importance with your self-assessment.
- When you go against our values you lose face in your own eyes.
How To Practise Personal Congruence
Now I will present you my vision of integrity. Generally writing, it assumes no conflicts. Below you will find some examples of conflicts which destroy integrity.
1. Resolve Inner Conflicts
How many times have you heard of the conflict between your heart and mind? You want something emotionally, but your mind reasons that it is unnecessary or even stupid.
Here is an example. Let’s say that you have fallen in love with a married man (or are married and want an affair with another woman). You might feel a big desire to continue the relationship, but your mind says “No, it is against moral rules.”
Then you are tossing and eventually either follow your urges or your moral code. Whichever choice you make, there will be something you will gain and something you will lose.
2. Resolve Conflicting Beliefs
This issue is even more complicated, showing that there are two or more beliefs that conflict with each other. Here is an example.
Suppose that you are a man. It is expected from men not to be too emotional, with crying in particular. So you control your emotions, following the belief that men do not cry.
However, on the other side, you love your wife and your family and want to share everything with them, your full self. Your conflicting belief is “Love allows crying, even in the case of men”
In the case of women, conflicting beliefs may concern dealing with politics and religion, while on the other hand, you want to be assertive and have the right to present your opinion.
3. Resolve Conflicting Values
My last post was about creating your mission statement. One of the elements of this statement is defining your values. Even without thorough analysis, you can find the issues important for you, which conflicts with each other.
Family and career is probably the most powerful conflict. Working overtime, the need to be recognised and make more and more money may overshade the necessity of spending time with your wife and kids. Long work hours mean no time for conversations, quality time, sex and sometimes any kind of interaction.
Health and fun also conflict very often. Suppose that you like eating, indulging with excessive drinking and being deprived of sleep because of staying up late at your local nightclub. Then you can be sure that the detrimental effects on your health emerge very soon and the price to pay for irresponsible fun will be high, not only seeing the doctor and buying medication.
4. Resolve Conflicting Goals
This category is a bit similar to values. However, goals concern a particular thing, representing something valuable for you. Let’s look at some examples of conflicting goals.
Family and work again. You want to be promoted as the senior manager which requires overtime and even work at home. On the other hand, you want to be loved by your spouse and kids, buying them expensive presents.
However, there is no quality time, common play, fun, good sex life. You cannot have both of these goals (promotion and happy family life). Compromise is necessary, which means resignation of something (e.g. shorter work hours.)
Another example. You want o save up money to grow your business. On the contrary, you dream of an expensive holiday, tired of the business routine. You have to choose: either the holiday or the business which will generate more money in the future.
Learn more about goals from these articles:
- 8 Things You’re Doing Wrong To Achieve Your Goals
- 5 Efficient Steps How To Turn Your Goals Into Habits
- Achieve Goals Successfully With 7 Golden Rules
5. Use Sentence Completion – Personal Congruence
Now I will give you some examples of sentence completion concerning integrity.
- no inner conflicts,
- no conflicts of values,
- no conflicts of goals,
- living according to your values,
- no conflicts of beliefs and convictions.
If I look at instances in which I find full integrity difficult…
- I notice that compromise is necessary
- I need to be more decisive where I want to go in my life,
- I sometimes need help to solve the problem,
- change may require lots of practice,
- sometimes I am discouraged to work on them,
- sometimes it may be easy to fix the problem.
If I bring 5 per cent more integrity into my life…
- my relationships with people will improve,
- I will be less stressed out,
- I will be happier,
- I will be more fulfilled,
- I will achieve more,
- I will be less fragmented.
If I bring 5 per cent more integrity to my work…
- my co-workers will accept me more,
- my co-workers will respect me more,
- my boss will appreciate more my efforts,
- I will have a bigger chance of being promoted,
- I will have a bigger chance of making more money.
In a Nutshell
Today you have learnt about the last of the six pillars of high self-esteem – integrity. In the shortest, being congruent means integration of ideals, convictions, standards, beliefs — and behaviour. Conflicts may concern family and career, health and fun.