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When someone says one thing, but does another (congruency)

Updated on January 6, 2015


Being congruent is similar to being coherent in the mind, thoughts, actions and feelings. In other words, congruency is a balance between different parts of us, such as our history, our identity, economic situation, education, environment, family background, psychological and cultural aspects, etc. All these parts blend together to emerge our values and attitudes, which determine our lives.


Balancing all the parts might be a great challenge. We give a sense to who we are and what we do which is a search for congruency and integration itself. However, it can happen that we are not always aware of these different parts of us or we don’t even have an idea about their existence.

Here are some examples:

- I trust you completely. – a man says. Yet you getting feeling of distance and holding back. The person continues in later conversation:

- I had to put you to this test. You didn’t pass.

What is really going on here, you might think.


- I think you don’t care about me. – complains the woman to her husband.

- Oh no, that’s not truth. – says the man and while they both keep on walking, he turns away with head, steps on her foot and accidentally pushes her away. This situations tends to repeat quite often.


- I am listening to you. Of course I do. So what did you say?


- Excuse me, I don’t want to disturb you… - says young employee to his boss – but I have a question… - the situation repeats several times an hour. The young man leaves to his place and every now and then some noise, like alarm watch, coming from his place of work.

Why knowing self?

This is what often happens when the lack of coherency within us touches and affects external communication with the people and world.

It seems that different parts of us like to communicate with us to let us know and inform of what is going on within and around us to make us act upon it. Information comes to us many ways. The only question is if we understand it. These sometimes hidden parts of us like to grab our attention in many forms and they continue until we get it. These particular ways of communication can appear in many forms such as: unreasonable feelings, sickness different kind of, body symptoms, headache, tiredness, lack of sleep, tension. There are also plenty of other signals such as sudden words of our different friends; repeatable behavior of our colleagues that has meaning only for us and other life situation that at first seem to cause us troubles.


One of the accessible ways to decode the information of our sometimes hidden parts, are dreams. Most of the people remember their dreams. Others, who seem not to have them, only temporary lost the access to it that is also already information itself.

Let’s take a look at the example:

- You know I constantly struggle with my material situation and I have many dreams about vampires. I don’t know, how I can manage, I am too weak for it. – says a woman to a therapist. Yet, tone of her voice is very strong and posture gives the impression of a very confident person.

The therapist proposed to explore the dream. At first the woman hesitated.

- Me? Pretending to be a vampire? No ways. – then she has changed her mind. – Alright, well, vampires are very charming creatures, very powerful… - the more she talked the more she felt better until she called: - Hey, that’s what I need in my life. I like to feel this way.  

- Perhaps you were not conscious of this strength within you, so it appeared in this scary form as chasing you vampire.

Very often letting the dream develop transforms its troubling aspect and introduces a new, refreshing quality to our life that when we act upon it, we can find a creative solution to many challenging situations.

It might be fun to catch these moments when incongruence happens, communicate about it and perhaps observe them transforming, losing its troubling aspect.

Knowing self is never ending process of discovery, traveling within and exploring surprising lands that no one ever visited and we are the only ones to enrich them with our presence.


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    • Joanna Pilatowicz profile image

      Joanna Pilatowicz 6 years ago from Germany

      Indeed, being congruent is an effort, being constant focused. This is why it is also about being attentive what others do, not what they say :), although there is already information in non verbal communication, tone of the voice may say a lot about intention of the person.

      Because it happens to all of us, the best would be stay conscious as much as possible and not accuse anybody of that, and not being accused from those who say they love us. It takes high quality communication, respect and taking responsibility for what we feel, say. But this is another big subject :)

    • Sheila Lee profile image

      Sheila Lee 6 years ago from Canada

      Well said Joanna. I practice mindfulness every day and what a difference it makes. It takes a lot of effort at first, but eventually becomes habit which becomes part of ourselves. I believe some people would call congruency a double standard. Am I right? Some people say things but don't do it themselves. It is confusing, especially when it comes from people we love and respect.

    • Joanna Pilatowicz profile image

      Joanna Pilatowicz 6 years ago from Germany

      Thank you Sheila for your comment. I wrote this hub some time ago, so now I have a perfect chance to add something I learnt recently. Being in congruent is sending double signals (signals that are in opposition one to another). However we all do that and since it is happening on subconscious level we cannot be blamed for that. It is at the same level as breathing, digestion. That all just happens. Still, at the same time the more we practice mindfulness (as you mentioned) the more we are in personal power of self and therefore quality of our lives, relationships is better and better. In close relationship I think the most important is to pay attention and reflect each other how we perceive another person, how we feel and what we observe.

    • Sheila Lee profile image

      Sheila Lee 6 years ago from Canada

      Great hub. It really rings true about incongruency. People say one thing and then do another. I believe if more of us practiced mindfulness, as well, there would be less of it.