Cognitive dissonance. Roughly speaking, it exists when there is a big gap between the inner reality of what one believes and believes and the reality externalized by one's attitudes.
Suppressed truths. When there is a big gap between what you are and what you show yourself to be.
This is not a psychiatry forum, but the risk is in the air. The risk of derailment to identity disturbances due to avatars, due to the speed of information circulation, due to the "let's pretend we are"...
Times are crazy. Information at the speed of light, bots that mimic people, algorithms that seem to read minds. And people who hide behind an avatar.
Whether it's because the rapid flow of information and rapid changes are seen as an opportunity, or because they are seen as a threat.
The problem arises when the avatar leaves the internet and becomes part of everyday life.
Many truths are repressed to maintain the façade of the created avatar. The greater the gap between what is felt and externalized reality, the greater the risk of a certain cognitive dissonance occurring.
Psychological disturbances are on the horizon. The world is on the brink of a nervous breakdown.
1. Cognitive dissonance and its impacts
It's not that it's a disease but it generates internal conflict and internal conflict can degenerate into psychological disturbance or not.
Most of the time the internal conflict is resolved in one of two ways:
- or the person makes a change in their values to reduce the gap (of cognitive dissonance) between what they believe and their attitudes;
- or the person brings out what he/she really believes and the authenticity comes out. and matches the avatar.
There is only one objective: to reduce the moral noise, discomfort, and internal conflict that cognitive dissonance creates.
The signs of cognitive dissonance? Here are some:
- Feeling uncomfortable before doing something or making a decision.
- Trying to justify or rationalize a decision you made.
- Feeling ashamed and trying to hide your actions from other people.
- Feeling guilty or regretful about something done in the past.
- Doing things due to social pressure, coerced compliance, or fear of missing out on opportunities (FOMO or Fear of Missing Out).
In short, emotions such as stress and anxiety, shame, regret, and persistent sadness are ways in which cognitive dissonance is felt, and how it manifests itself.
Can you identify some situations in your life? Almost certainly.
I think any adult at some stage in life has gone into cognitive dissonance. Almost inevitable.
The way we deal with cognitive dissonance is what will dictate how the change will take place.
And the changes we are going to experience are what are going to say who rules our life: if it is ourselves or the environment external to us.
And in all the signs indicated there is one thing in common: there are truths that were not expressed. There are suppressed truths.
2. The suppressed truths
Having suppressed truths is a form of self-abandonment.
The message we are passing on to ourselves is that what we believe to be true: has little value, it doesn't matter, it is irrelevant, and doesn't change anything. And that can be a form of self-abandonment.
Of course, it can also be argued that truth is repressed to protect something or someone. But this is relative: in the long run, a repressed truth or a lie causes much more damage than any supposed guarantee of protection.
We refrain from expressing any truth: we say no when in reality we mean yes. We say yes when inside something screams no.
And that is a form of non-existence. There you go: let's not exaggerate.
It is a diminished form of existence. And we exist. Why not try to be it in full?
Okay: living in society requires compromises. And commitments have sacrifices on the other side of the balance. When we commit to something, we are sacrificing something. It's normal.
It's normal and part of growing up to have to give up anything along the way of growth. Including values: that may become obsolete.
It is normal and healthy to abandon certain values that oppose our personal growth.
What is neither healthy nor normal is sacrificing values that are structural to us and that we believe in, due to external pressure, to replace them with other values in which we do not believe.
Transformation is laudable, desirable, and necessary for growth.
Turning ourselves into social Frankenstein experiences is something aberrant. There's very little praiseworthy about it, it's not something you consciously want to be, nor is it necessary.
And to reduce the discomfort and internal conflict of this dissonance, we give up what we believe in order to have compatibility with our attitudes and actions.
When we repress inner truths, we create cognitive dissonance between what we believe and the actions we take.
We refrain from expressing any truth: we say no when in reality we mean yes..
We say yes when inside something screams no.
And so we narrow the gap between our internal self and the social avatar.
It can be a positive growth, an expansion, if it is done in a conscious way, in which you know who you are, we know that we are and we also know who we want to become, and what transformations we want to have. And that's a win.
.But it can also represent oppression. It can crush your soul. Make you feel small in your own eyes. And that is devastating for a person. Destructive and not necessarily in a positive way.
One way or another, faced with signs of cognitive dissonance, the natural tendency to survive is to narrow the gap that was created: between the inner truth and the avatar.
There is another way to narrow the gap. The other way.
3. The other way: authenticity
By way of shortcut, the other way is authenticity.
Obviously, it has personal costs. But the benefits far outweigh the costs:
- Force yourself to be self-aware. What is it for you? To make better life choices and set firm limits to what's external and doesn't help you grow.
- You know when to say no and when to say yes: as the focus becomes self-respect, you stop saying yes or no just to please others.
- You tend to have more courage to assume your responsibilities: because you understand better that your choices have consequences for you. And you prefer to do it based on who you are or want to become, on what you feel, and believe. And not based on what others are, feel, or believe.
- Strengthens your mental health. Because you are not in constant internal conflict, you develop healthier levels of self-esteem.
- You develop mental resilience because you feel confident in yourself. Why do you feel confident in yourself? Because you are loyal to yourself. If you are loyal to yourself: you know you are a trustworthy person. If you are disloyal to yourself, even if no one else knows: you know you cannot be trusted. You are your first witness: for good and for bad.
- You know that people who are attracted to you really like you: because you are making yourself known for who you are.
Of course, if you don't value the benefits mentioned above, this will mean little to you.
And everything is fine. What matters is that you know who you are: so you don't lose yourself in the middle of this mess of so much information, counter-information, influencers, social communication, and social networks, of this liquid society.
As long as you have your north.
But there is magic in being authentic. There is magic.
Getting Better Every Day
Hey! I'm Eunice Veloso and you'll find more about me on my About Page
Antoine Lavoisier, 1789
The Law of the Conservation of Mass