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Suffering from Cognitive Dissonance?

Maura Sweeney Foundations of Happiness ecourse

"The most lies we will ever tell in our lives will be to ourselves."  ~ Carla H. Krueger


If there's one thing we don't want in life, it's to hear that we bear some personal responsibility for our physical, emotional or mental distress.

When we are enduring the pain of truth, the last thing we want to do is to look inwardly. We'd much rather blame some outside force for our problems, point the finger of judgment against our oppressor, or hate the manipulative individual who took advantage of our naivete or good nature.

We become the victim, betrayed in a nasty, unkind and devious world.

Welcome to the Human Condition

If you've ever wondered why there is an inordinate amount of stress, conflict and strife in society, it's because we are often conflicted between our inner truth and our outward behavior.

Somewhere within us, we know, discern, or otherwise resonate with truth. We often call it intuition. When acknowledged and developed, that inner knowing can provide helpful signals. The signals may go against convention, but they often keep us from harm, distress, danger and loss.

Examples of inner knowing, or intuition, show up everywhere: in relationships, business deals, job opportunities, even social invitations from seemingly charming people. Our egos might be stroked, our eyes dazzled, and our imaginations inflated by something presented before us, but we know better inwardly. The situation, proposition or opportunity presented to us just doesn't feel right.

It doesn't jive. 

We feel a discordance within and it can range from mild to major.

I often use the expression of "Living Happy - Inside Out" because the majority of us do just the opposite. We respond to all kinds of outside advice and messaging, yet deny what we know inwardly as true and real. Succumbing to outward voices, suggestions and the judgments of others can ultimately make us feel very unhappy when they don't bear an inner witness.

The farther we go along this path, the more distant we become from our soul. Eventually, instead of facing the lies we've adopted as our own, we defend them to our further detriment. As more truth emerges, whether from friends, relatives, or from public facts and disclosures, we can find ourselves becoming angry and bombastic, even attacking the truth-tellers!

Facing the Pain of Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance affects us all.

We'd rather trudge along in our lies than face the painful truth that we made a wrong decision. Somewhere, we ignored our inner compass, compromised our values or surrendered our better judgment to someone -- or something -- else.

And that awareness proves very painful, indeed!

But as we grow, evolve and mature into more peaceful and harmonized versions of ourselves, facing the pain of cognitive dissonance is necessary. And we needn't punish ourselves for the common act of self-avoidance and denial.

The process helps heal our soul, bringing us back to "home" to peace. 

If you've yet to discover your own cognitive dissonance, don't worry. Your time will come. Whether we realize it or not, we are all on a similar journey.

Click to hear my latest podcast entitled: Cognitive Dissonance.

Maura is an International Speaker on Leadership, Influence and Emotional Intelligence

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