In geometry, the word congruent means equal, but outside of that context it means to agree. And the question is, "Do you agree with yourself?"

Are you congruent with yourself?

Now that may sound like a philosophical consideration to be reserved for a time when you're struggling with insomnia, but I assure that it's not. In fact, it's so important, that if it's not true of you, then you'll never be able to succeed at anything - whatever it is.

We make a distinction between our mind and our heart.

Your mind is the seat of your thinking, but it's your heart where your emotions are found, and it's in your heart that the will to do anything actually lives.

You are congruent with yourself when your mind and heart follow the same path; but all too often, they are at cross-purposes; that is, one wants to go in one direction, while the other wants to go a different way.

You'll know from your own experience that there are times when all the logic points towards one thing, but "your gut" tells you something else.

That's what incongruency feels like.

The tricky thing is that sometimes what you think you ought to do is incongruent with what your true self would do if it was thinking clearly. And at times like that, your heart may actually reflect the better choice. At other times, however, the reverse is true. 

How can you know which is right?

The key is to have a clear understanding of your own values.

Values are an expression of your "red lines." Those things that you absolutely will always do or not do, come what may; those things that matter more to you than anything else.

So to discover what you really ought to do, start with your values, and then use your mind to explore deeply and systematically the causes of the internal tension that you feel.

You see, your emotions are the result of something; not the cause. So while your emotions can tell you that there's a problem, they can't tell what it is. You have to use your mind to do that.

If you've been struggling for awhile to make progress on some goal, chances are that your mind and heart have been pulling in different directions.

You'll never get anywhere until you resolve the conflict between the two. But you'll know that they are in sync with one another when that tension goes away.

In fact, you'll feel like a huge burden has been lifted from your shoulders.


  1. Great post Bruce and sooo true, good stuff!

    • Bruce Hoag on at

      Hi Lloyd

      Thanks for your comment!

  2. And you Bruce, are you congruent with yourself? And if yes, how can you be sure? Isn’t your mind monopolizing the speaking?
    I feel this explanation on congruency very useful by the way.
    But at the same time, my way of seeing things lead me to think that heart and mind cannot completely be on the same path, and that it may be useful to accept it. But the more they can be reconciled, the more they can speak each to the other, (mind and heart I mean) the best it is.

    • Bruce Hoag on at

      Hi Jean-David,

      For a long time, I felt a lack of congruency, but didn’t know that that’s what it was. It was only when things “clicked” that I realize why things hadn’t felt right for so long, and then it was easy to describe that experience to others.

      If your heart and mind aren’t on the same path, then each will be pulling in a different direction. Rather than accept it as the status quo, you need to examine why that’s the case. That’s because it’s so easy to be enticed by superficial stuff away from your true calling.

  3. Paul Silva on at

    Hi Bruce,
    Glad you wrote this.
    A real practical application of what may sound philosophical.
    Everyone seems to have difficulty being introspective. So I include training on the different types of introspection in my course, “3 Steps to Wholeness.”

    • Bruce Hoag on at

      Hi Paul,

      You’re right about things sounding a bit philosophical. That’s probably because it’s difficult to describe the internal tension that many of us feel.

      Those who have a melancholy personality are prone to introspection, while others much less so. A balance has to be found so that those who do it naturally don’t become despondent with their inadequacies, and those who hadn’t thought about it overlook clues to their inability to make progress.

      • Paul A Silva on at

        Hi Bruce,
        I agree that introspection can be either healthy or unhealthy. But I’ve found in my mentorship program that no one can discover their true purpose in life without the skill to do it.

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