There's a psychological term that I would like to introduce you to: congruence. It was coined by Carl Rogers, founder of humanistic psychology that focuses on the whole person. Congruence is the degree to which a person is living in accordance with their true self.
To tone down the psychobabble, I will to refer to this theory as alignment. Since it is always easier for us to think of our physical needs over our mental needs let's imagine our body's alignment. There is spinal alignment, but what about the other parts of our body? Are they working as a whole? Are we feeding and treating our body well enough to get positive results?
We are thirsty so we give our body liquid and we are hungry so we feed it. But if we are mentally drained usually we keep on pushing. If we are stressed we rarely take a break to do something nourishing. This type of misalignment in our mental processes usually serves to keep us stuck.
In order for our mind to produce our desired outcomes, we must treat it better and care for it in a more nurturing way. Somewhere along our journey to becoming grown ups, we learned that we do not have to listen to our mental and psychological needs as much. I beg you to ditch this thought.
Maybe you are already thinking that you don't need these adjustments. There is no desired outcome you are striving for mentally. To frame those mental desires that I am referring to I mean peace, happiness, calm, relaxation, wholeness within ourselves. These are outcomes that need work to achieve.
How to become aligned
In thinking about ourselves as a whole, I want you to think about your entire life right now. In the fullest sense, what are the pieces of your life? For me its my mental and physical self, my relationships, my career, my passions and creativity, financial stability, and feeling spiritually connected. These things as a whole help me feeling nourished and whole.
Going back to the theory of congruence, I want you to think about how aligned you are with those segments of your life. Think of alignment as how close you are to being that true self. If, for example, your truest self is a body builder and you are currently watching 8 hours of Netflix a day, you may want to take a deeper look into your alignment.
Alignment In Practice
Alignment is not a constant and this balancing point needs to be checked up on as time goes on. For me, its more about taking my mental temperature to ensure that I am on the right track.
As an example, yesterday as I was coming home from looking at farms and properties, feeling a bit defeated because everything is still slightly out of reach, I almost got down on myself. Then I took a minute to assess my alignment. Despite the feelings of sadness that I'm just not there yet, this action is very much aligned with my values and needs to happen if my husband and I are going to have a farm.
I often work with clients who work 60+ hours a week and I generally find the stress is defined by one of two emotions: feeling like this is all for nothing or feeling like this is for something bigger. We can always check in with ourselves to evaluate that alignment and use it to see whether we are on track or missing the mark. If that type of schedule is helping you get to a deeper and more meaningful goal, perhaps you bolster your weeks with self-care to keep you afloat. However, if that lifestyle is not in alignment, perhaps its best to reassess what our truest self needs.
Join me on the Talking Outside the Box Facebook page for a video on this topic later in the week!