Authenticity is strongly connected to congruence. Congruence is all about saying yes when you feel yes, and saying no when you feel no. Let’s raise our awareness in this respect and see how it demands both a realistic, real and honest perspective on what is alive in us, right now.

Ever sensed how your whole body objects when you behave incongruently? When you opt for something that does not agree with you, or what you stand for?

Innocent incongruences and more subtle dynamics

It may concern very innocent forms of incongruence. Maybe you said yes to something that you just don’t feel the energy for. You’d love to do it, and you’d love to do it well. It’s just that you’re tired, so your body objects. Because of some – interesting (!) – reason you did not say no.

Ah well, that happens to all of us. A good night’s sleep is probably what will do the trick.

Sometimes, on the other hand, there is less innocent stuff going on inside of us. You said ‘yes’ to something you really do not want to do, not even if you are fully rested. Mh… Your body will tell you when something like that is going on. It will sabotage you, and try to derail you, by keeping you up at night, making you feel nauseous, for instance.

In still different situations, subtle dynamics may be alive in you. So-called ‘self-defeating dynamics’ that you may have been cultivating for over decades by now – assuming that you’ve lived for more than two decades by the time you’re reading this.

If you suffer these subtle dynamics that to a certain extent invites you to hide from your real feelings.

Mind you, your e.g. impostor feelings, or defensive pessimism, or forms of procrastination or one of the other Big Five of Self-Defeating Dynamics were a very intelligent answer to a very stressful situation at some point in your life. It is just that, here and now, they are not serving you any longer.

So, I don’t know… but you might want to let go of them, like with expired bus tickets…

I came across this wonderful metaphor in Ferrucci’s work that might prove to be helpful in attuning to congruence. Congruence requires being in the ‘here and now’.

It requires attuning to yourself, just the way you are right now, acknowledging the needs you may have, observing the feelings that you feel. Sometimes we slip into ‘the past’, sometimes we are already bracing ourselves for ‘the future’.

Expired bus tickets

Especially when it comes sliding into ‘the past’, this metaphor of ‘expired bus tickets’ is helpful, I find.

We all have ‘convictions’.

With these convictions go corresponding feelings which were meaningful at some point in your life but have become outdated in the meantime.

Ferrucci cites a Swiss psychologist Baudoin in his book on psychosynthesis when he introduces this metaphor for ‘outdated feelings and ideas’:

A passenger on a bus sees an official sign that he was to hold his ticket presentable at all times for inspection purposes. He leaves the bus and runs his errands. Hours later, he finds himself juggling with packages, his wallet and his change, realizing that he is still holding his bus ticket ready to be inspected.

Which psychological mechanism explains this kind of pointless behavior, the psychologist asks:

Some may point to drowsiness or automatism. If this were a situation of automatism, then it would not be one of pure automatism: the original instruction became an unconscious directive in the functioning of this man and brought about a series of ingenious and complex distortions that required quite a lot of initiative and determination. All resulting from following a direction meticulously as if life depended upon being able to present an expired bus ticket.

Citing this psychologist, Ferrucci reminds us that we might be fostering grudges that have expired, that we may be involved in patterns of behavior that are not nurturing us any longer.

It may well be that you are holding on to several bus tickets that have expired a long time ago.

Gifts and givens

So, when we contemplate our bus tickets, let’s become aware of whether something is actually still relevant and connected to an authentic feeling or need, or whether we are actually simply holding on to a bus ticket that has either expired or does not apply to your ride.

There are many ‘gifts’ given to us by moms/ dads/ ministers/ teachers/ figures of authority* out of concern and care which are actually quite oppressive/ taxing/ irrelevant/ outdated/ undoable. If this is the case: just let go of the bus ticket. It’s not yours.

Raising our awareness should not lead to more scolding ourselves…

Whatever you do, pondering about this question, don’t start to scold yourself over your ‘bus tickets you are still keeping presentable at all times’.

Just become aware of your tickets, let them be, and then tune into what else…

What else presents itself when I ask you to become real about your feelings, real about your yes’s and real about your no’s?

  • What do you say no to? Enlist at least three things you want off your plate.
  • What do you say yes to? Enlist at least three things you want in your life.

*Just think of the authority figures that apply to your life.

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