Step 12 - Behave in a congruent manner
This concludes (until further notice) the series of articles based on this "12 Steps to Happiness" post. Saving the best for last, this is the one that's supposed to pull it all together. Personally, I find this one the most difficult to accomplish in everyday life.
Congruent behaviour to me means that a person lives and behaves according to their beliefs and values. To me, for example, this means that I'm most comfortable when I'm surrounded by openness and honesty. The freedom to speak my mind and go in a strop (have some bad five minutes) if I so please is important to me. At the same time, I am accepting that this is a long road - not unlike healthy eating or getting exercise - that I choose to get back on every day, one step at a time.
What's important to you? In which situations are you uncomfortable, and what can you do about it? How can you change your behaviour to feel more in tune with your self? Is your work keeping you up at night? How's your conscience doing?
Every person has a different view of reality and of what the truth is; our perceptions are all based on the filters we apply. Those filters are a consequence of our upbringing, the behaviour and relationship patterns we learned as a child, and I guess to a certain extent our genetic make-up. Add to that the different communication channels we prefer and the different emphasis we put on the various aspects of what's going on around us and boom! there's your mosaic of truths.
Since you cannot change anybody else but yourself, start by finding out who you are, what your values are, and learn to live with them (Steps 1 to 3). Make the necessary changes, if any (Steps 4 to 6) and do the best for your own prosperity and fulfilment (Steps 7 to 9). As you get more and more comfortable in your own skin (Steps 10 and 11), you will come to rely less and less on outside knowledge and things. Eventually, you will trust yourself and find your answers within, and living in congruence will come naturally.
Taking it one step further, the challenge lies in bringing all those values together so we can co-exist peacefully, i.e. while I live according to my values I don't get in the way of yours. (hmmm... where does that leave sociopaths or those who value killing and destruction? Any suggestions are welcome!)
Take care, til next time!