Have you ever felt off or stressed for no apparent reason? How about like you weren’t living up to your potential?
Maybe, you used to have a drive to be great, but decided living in mediocrity suited your personality better.
That feeling of a mental stress or emotional discomfort because you aren’t being consistent with yourself is called Cognitive Dissonance. The exact definition of dissonance is a lack of harmony. If you resonated with someone, you would be in harmony with them.
Now, on to the more serious stuff…
When your behavior doesn’t match a value or belief you have, you feel cognitive dissonance. You change yourself, either in attitudes or behaviors, to become harmonious once again. I like to think that a great deal of this is conscious. It’s just that sometimes, you can rationalize and change in a subtle way. Your unconscious can analyze and make a decision so quickly, it’ll make you question what you really want out of life.
To make you aware of a few relationships between cognitions, I’ll give you some examples.
- Consonant relationship – Two cognitions/actions that are consistent with one another (Ex: Not wanting to get intoxicated while out, then ordering water instead of alcohol)
- Irrelevant relationship – Two cognitions/actions that are unrelated to one another (Ex: Not wanting to get intoxicated while out, then tying your shoes)
- Dissonant relationship – Two cognitions/actions that are inconsistent with one another (Ex: Not wanting to get intoxicated while out, then consuming six tequila shots)
When you feel a negative way or stressed because you feel out of alignment become aware that it is a dissonant relationship. A great tool to figure out the relationship is to simply ask ‘Why?’. You’d be surprised at the answers you produce. When you find the true ‘Why’, you can begin to find answers.
Check this video out to go deeper into Cognitive Dissonance.
There are some ways that your manipulate beliefs to get back to harmony. Take advantage of the emotions being brought up and commit yourself to a positive form of action. A little action can go a long way.
In my next article, I’ll talk a little a bit about how your ego is controlling your learning curve and how it weaves itself into metacognitive experience and metacognitive knowledge.
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