Carl Rogers was a psychologist who formulated the psychological theory of congruence. It can be illustrated roughly like this,
Rogers held that self-actualization occurs when a person's ideal self is congruent with their actual behavior. According to Rogers only an individual who is actualizing in this way qualifies as a fully functioning person. Rogers identified seven characteristics of the fully functioning person:
1. Openness to experience
: No need for subception, a perceptual defense that involves unconsciously applying strategies to prevent a troubling stimulus from entering consciousness.
2. Existential lifestyle
: Not distorting the moment to fit personality or self-concept but being open to what is going on now, and discover in that present process whatever structure it appears to have.
3. Organismic intuition
: Trusting their own judgment and ability to choose behavior that is appropriate for each moment.
4. Freedom of choice
: The ability to make a wider range of choices. Taking responsibility and being determinate about their own actions.
: Freedom to be creative and adapting their own circumstances without feeling a need to conform.
6. Reliability and constructiveness
: They are open to all their needs, and will be able to maintain a balance between them, allowing them to be reliable and constructive.
7. Rich full life
: The life of the fully functioning individual is rich, full and exciting and suggests that they experience joy and pain, love and heartbreak, fear and courage more intensely.
Rogers calls the life of the fully functioning individual "the good life": This process of the good life is not, I am convinced, a life for the faint-hearted. It involves the stretching and growing of becoming more and more of one's potentialities. It involves the courage to be. It means launching oneself fully into the stream of life. How do we become fully functional, congruent individuals?
One way to be congruent with ones ideal self is simply to lower the ideal self to the actual self. Another strategy is of course to raise the actual self to the ideal self. Generally we set ideals that are either too low or unrealistically high to avoid feeling the need to try at all. If you want to work on this balance, one of these three strategies might be helpful:#1: Set New Standards for Yourself
Who has crafted your self-image and standards in life?
Define your own self: who do you
want to be?#2: Set your Mood
When we are incongruent there is internal conflict, and our moods will be all over the place. Do not let internal or external circumstances dictate what you feel.
Consider: What am I looking forward to the most today, or what could I decide to do today that I can look forward to?#3: Keep Your Word and Follow Through
Following up on your own words grounds you as a powerful agent that can reliably make things happen.
Ultimately, we want the feeling that we are following through with our own intentions, that we are doing what we know we should be doing.