Living with cognitive dissonance
Living with cognitive dissonance….
When I was young, I found cognitive dissonance to be an excellent survival tool. I spoke in an earlier blog about “magical thinking” and mastery of certain fears or ocd problems by forcing myself to look at crooked pictures, or a crumpled piece of paper thrown in the center of the room to “deal” with the way it made me feel. I also had a real problem eating animals. It disturbed me greatly the day I was told where the meat I was eating came from. Made me sick. Growing up we had the “must eat everything on your plate or you cannot leave the table” rule because of course “there are children starving in Ethiopia. ” I learned to “believe” that the meat was just meat that came from the store. Not really from live animals. This was a method of survival I believe. What I did not realize was I was seriously honing a skill that allowed me to live in reality while believing something that was not true. And that the more I did this, the easier it became. (Something fellow blogger John Zande might be interested in 😉 ) I have had to employ this ability on more than one occasion when driving a car and an eight legged fiend dropped down, from above, disappearing from the line of visibility and I had the choice to believe that there was not a spider in the car and arrive safely at my destination, or…..
(well one can only imagine)
I also found it an extremely useful skill in maintaining my religious belief for a very long time.
And so I discovered this interesting skill has its down sides as well. (of course…doesn’t everything? )
The ability to exist, accept, live with…..things that aren’t necessary.
I have found that I can slip into accepting things with which do not need to be accepted, in life, and in that moment losing out
on my quality of life. It is nice to be able to let go of great expectations, (things like expecting perfection) but it is not a nice thing
to accept just anything.
Need I settle for less? accept the status quo, live without living? How often am I doing this? Something that needs changing….
Ah to find the perfect balance in anything…and never take anything to the extreme….
wishful thinking? or perhaps more to the point…life continues to be a learning experience…
one step, one day at a time.