Taming the Giant Incongruence

painting by maeg yosef

Congruence. Bringing our external world into alignment with our internal lives. If you’ve been reading my column here on Scoutie Girl or my own blog, you know I’m fascinated by these ideas – and putting them into practice.

Today I want to talk about a certain beast you may be familiar with in your own life: the Giant Incongruence. The Giant Incongruence is one of those big things that just doesn’t fit our lifestyle or vision at all, but needs to stay, at least for now. Often due to reality.

When I use the word “beast” here, I mean it.

A Giant Incongruence is so big, so counter to what we want in our lives, that it feels absolutely terrible to recognize it for what it is and live with it.

I picture mine as a demanding woolly mammoth that has plunked down in my living room and refuses to budge. Huge, immoveable, and shudder-inducing. I’m sick of mopping up his drool and sweeping his fur, but since he’s sticking around, at least he makes for an awfully good guard dog.

Whether you imagine your Giant Incongruence as an angry Snuffleupagus or something else entirely, I’m sure you know what I mean. They come in many forms:

A Giant Incongruence is the house that doesn’t feel like home…but right now, you’d be selling at an impossible loss.

A Giant Incongruence is the job with pay and bennies…that doesn’t feed your soul at all.

A Giant Incongruence is the town you’d love to leave…but there are strong ties keeping you here, for now.

Do you have a Giant Incongruence in your own life? Something that feels completely wrong but that you’re not ready, willing, or able to change right now? Something that doesn’t feed you but is important for you to allow at this time in your life?

I have one…or two…and lately I’ve been playing with how to make my Giant Incongruences more in line with the life I want, for as long as I need to keep them around.

There were two questions I asked myself that helped me feel at peace with my current choices.

How can I bring more of myself to this Giant Incongruence?

With a Giant Incongruence, it helps to add as many little congruences as possible, even if your first instinct is to disengage. Instead, can you bring yourself to this situation in fresh ways?

Start pretending that house you ache to leave is your forever home. Care for it with pride. Bring elements of your dream space to your now space, be it a fresh coat of paint or a new piece of furniture.

If your job doesn’t feed your soul, bring your soul to your job. Seriously. You’ll be a lot happier. Treat each colleague and client with kindness, and do your best work. Dress a little more like you. Speak a little more like you.

If your place is not your thing, root down a little bit anyway. Find the pockets of beauty or culture that speak to you. Or create them.

How does the Giant Incongruence already support the things which are important to me? My deepest, core values?

It was not until fairly recently that I devoted some time to identifying my core values with the help of a wise mentor. I found that my values were simple, elegant, and – surprise! – supported in many ways by my Giant Incongruence.

That house is still a shelter. That job still provides for you and your loved ones. That town is still your community.

I was a little bit stunned to recognize so deeply the ways in which my Giant Incongruence is in line with my desires to care and provide for my family. With how much I value creativity, flexibility, and the ability to design my own life.

So, my Giant Incongruence is still plunked in my living room. I would still like him to move out – eventually. But in this moment I embrace him. There’s a bowl of water and a warm blanket with his name on it. You might even come over and find me scratching his belly.

I’d love to hear from you:
Do you have any Giant Incongruences in your life? Things that don’t fit but need to stay for now?

Are there ways you can bring more of yourself to that space? Are there ways that situation already aligns with your values?

I hope these two questions bring you greater peace and joy with the choices you make – and more energy to use creating the life of your dreams!

xxoo Maeg

13 thoughts on “Taming the Giant Incongruence

  1. Love this! Thank you for putting into words the way I feel sometimes. It’s so frustrating not feeling like I can obtain my full potential or be where I want to be work wise. That incongruence impacts my relationships and my energy for life. I think just acknowledging it is part of the battle- thank you for your eloquence and insight. Onward and upward!! :)

  2. I love this (and adore the painting).

    I always thought I had to ask my big woolly mammoth to leave ASAP, my discomfort with him always taking up space in my home growing by the day. Now I realize that, although he’s certainly not welcome to stay forever, I’ll work around him for now and make the best of a bad situation.

    Thanks, Maeg 😉

    Nikki ~

  3. Wow… I stumbled upon this site yesterday, and today I find this article which could not have come at a better time for me. I have been struggling with a terrible, ugly, negative attitude inducing Giant Incongruence, and trying to figure out how to get rid of it. I have had a terrible attitude surrounding it, and this was really helpful. It completely gave me a new way to look at it, and hopefully will help me have a better attitude until the time comes that I can kick the incongruence out for good. In the meantime, I’ll do my best to work around it, and be thankful for the ways that it supports other aspects of my life that are important to me. All of this is to say… Thank you!

  4. Great post, Maeg. Wise, wise words.

    Another smart gal this reminds me of, Marie Forleo (http://marieforleo.com/), teaches and preaches living in the moment. Her “This is it!” concept is about reminding yourself that circumstances as they are right now are your life. And not living for “when this changes” or “if this works out,” but just plain living right now. And all by saying to yourself, “This is it!” when your thoughts drift out in that direction.

    These kinds of thoughts definitely change lives for the better.

  5. Thank you SO much for saying this. I get tired of reading blogs that tell us that we need to be getting rid of what doesn’t serve us, without acknowledging that in some cases, we CAN’T. Not don’t-really-want-to, not are-resisting-putting-in-the-time-and-effort-needed, not you-just-need-to-visualize-harder-what-you-want. Really truly CAN’T, for very legitimate reasons.

    I have at least two giant incongruences right now (actually, three, but eliminating one of them would also eliminate another) and have been going around in circles thinking about how to get rid of them and the obstacles preventing me from doing that. At first glance I don’t think that any of them really support my values, but I am going to think more deeply on this and see if I can find even a tiny way that they do.

  6. Ah. It’s difficult to do this—to think through the positives, to take active steps toward making something work when it has to, to turn your frown around and instead embrace the good things about an annoying or frustrating situation. But it’s good to be reminded of this today… A helpful read, Maeg. Thank you.

  7. OMG! This is where I am at and he is BIG. Wow ..house… where we live (small town small minds )…. job…your post was very helpful.
    Thank you

  8. Hi everyone!

    What a treat to come back from a short (and unplugged, yay!) trip with my husband to find all these lovely comments waiting for me.

    It’s an honor to be able to share my thoughts and writing in this space. Each time I hear from you that my work has been useful or thought-provoking fills me with joy. So thank you!

    Here’s to making friends with the mammoth.

    xo Maeg

  9. I love the image you give! It made me laugh and nod in agreement!! Thanx for the great insite and dash of humour in a somewhat hard to live with subject! Very thought provoking!

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