Cognitive Dissonance – My Disgusting and Aching Achilles Heel, and Probably Yours, Too

Howdy, readers.

Today I am providing a little edumacation. Some tea spilling. The usual.

Cognitive Dissonance. If you have been to therapy, you’ll know this common term to describe the overwhelmingly large proportion of problems most people experience. Humans love to live in paradoxes, apparently, and this contributes to our greater misery.

The textbook describes Cognitive Dissonance as “the mental discomfort experienced by a person who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values.”

An easy example would be smoking. We know that smoking causes cancer, lung problems, and shitty ass breath – yet people still smoke cigarettes on a daily basis.

However, in terms of psychology, we have to explore this phenomena on a deeper level. People often live in their very own inconsistencies and struggle to find balance and stability between the two- because ‘balancing’ two completely opposing ideaologies is literally impossible.

In my most recent experiences, I’ve done this in the form of my relationships and my stance on feminism and women’s rights. I’ve tolerated absolute bull shit, including being hung-up on and straight up ignored, while still promoting a “screw shitty men” attitude to my friends and close female family members. If my sister had a man tell her that she was crazy or mentally ill, I’d be furious- yet there I was, completely accepting it and allowing myself to feel disgustingly ugly and indescribably unwanted because of the opinion of someone who couldn’t see my value.

I have driven myself up walls and burned holes in my head and heart trying desperately to balance an unstable life. There is no possible way to be happy and healthy while I simultaneously feed unhealthy and deprecating habits. Being “okay” with people I know using drugs, or treating me and others poorly, or anything else that I otherwise shouldn’t (and wouldn’t) advise my friends to be “okay” with.

It is a very difficult process to become a congruent person. What is it that we truly want, at our core? If we speak one thing and act opposingly, we are not acting holistically or consistently. If I say I want to be fit and slim yet eat poorly and fail to workout, my lifestyle simply doesn’t make sense. If I say I want healthy friends and habits yet accept friends who don’t share my morals and delve into hobbies like smoking or drinking, I am ultimately living in a lie.

All of these things are cognitive dissonance.

What would make me happy? To do x, y, z. How do I obtain this? To do a, b, c.

But what do we do? We do 1,2,3. We often are so incredibly stubborn (and ignorant!) as humans. In order to live a healthier and happier life, we absolutely have to make our WORDS align with our ACTIONS.

This is something I am learning and slowly becoming better at. I encourage you to talk to a therapist, doctor, or specialist about this topic and see if it is affecting your life, too- you might be surprised.


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