Incongruence: The Art of Being Fake

There is a new culture in town. The unspoken, undocumented lifestyle of fake smiles, fake promises, fake love and putting up appearances and façades. Understandably, in a world with high expectations and harsh critics, it is only justifiable that in order to defend ourselves, we pretend to be and say what we don’t mean from our hearts. However, I still respect some of us who are brave enough to be their authentic self regardless of the impending criticism and crucifixion.

Congruence is one of the core conditions of therapeutic relationship as identified by Carl Rogers, when he explained that a client will only respond to therapy when the counsellor does not put up airs about himself or his status and stands separated from his client as the All-Knowing God of answers-to-problems and Truth. He went on to say that nobody will care how much you know unless they know how much you care. In essence, I think what he was trying to say was simply that in order to have a meaningful and impactful relationship with a client/or anyone else in that matter, we need to be our true and authentic self; true to how we feel, what we have learned from our past mistakes, what we know and know not, and who we have become.

I have stayed true for a better part of my life, and I am sure most of you have as well, that is the time before you venture into the world as a full grown adult and then meet all the fakes I have mentioned above. The world is full of it. You cannot escape it. The only way anyone can, is if they decide they want to live on a deserted island, far, far away. It is like eating cereal in the morning, or going to exercise in the evening, fake has infiltrated our lives.

So how do you deal with it?

As much as I would like to have a solution to this problem to share with you guys, I admit this time, I have none. I have been confused and bewildered by anyone who would rather show a smiling face to me when they hate me, or have anyone lie and deceive me, time and time again, when they can choose to be honest with their words and actions. I used to suffer, cry my heart out, get depressed over this for quite a long time, until I realized the only way to survive among these people, is to play them at their own game. So, as much as I have ideals about authenticity, I try to keep that part of me to myself, in the privacy of my heart and mind, while outside, among them, I watch out for every word, promise, every action for it might not mean what it looks like.

The result of this incongruent lifestyle is obvious, increased number of failed relationships in the world. If every 9 out of 10 people do not say or act how they really feel, the whole world becomes this superficial and bogus stage where no real bonds between people are formed. As a result, nobody can experience true happiness and the love and intimacy between the two actors, whilst it managed to fool everyone watching, we all know will only last up to the final episode of that show.

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