In exploring the importance of authenticity and being yourself in the modern digital age, it is wise to consider congruence. Congruence, in this instance, refers to the harmony or balance between our self-image and the version of ourselves which we present to the outside world.
This post is inspired by a Japanese proverb which I have encountered numerous times on social media outlets. The proverb in question states that we have 3 faces. The first face is the one which we present to the outside world. The second face is the one which we reveal to family and close friends. The third face, which we never reveal to anyone else, is the truest reflection of who we are.
I interpret this as the first face being a mask which we wear when engaging with others outside of our immediate circle. In essence, this face represents the regulation of our behaviour to ensure that it is in line with what is socially expected while also being accepted culturally.
The second face is the mask we wear when interacting with family and close friends. This represents the way in which we modify our behaviour when with our nearest and dearest. We often do whatever we can to let them know that we love, care for and respect them. We often prioritise the happiness of those closest to us over our acting according to our true selves.
The third face is our true reflection. This is our authentic, true self which we often keep hidden from others for fear of ridicule or rejection.
Is it really necessary, or even healthy, to live like this?! There must surely be a better way.
In the last post, we touched on Aristotle’s “Golden Mean”. According to this rule, authenticity is a perfect balance between honesty and discretion, which also takes into account the context and circumstance.
Why can’t we apply the Golden Mean here too? If there are to be 3 versions of the self, why can we not work to ensure that there is congruence, or harmony between all 3?
In doing this, we relieve ourselves of any inner conflict. Thar is not to say that it is easy. Far from it. In order to achieve harmony between our 3 faces, or selves, we must first have a good understanding of who we are and what drives us. Self-Awareness, however, is a big part of the journey we are on towards success and something we should be working towards anyway.
On the other hand, maintaining several different personas is tiring. Unless you are an entertainer, it can also be conflicting and tiring leading to wasted energy which could be better directed elsewhere
So, is congruence a possibility? Are we able to find harmony and consistency in who we really are and how we present ourselves to the outside wold?