Cognitive dissonance is the discomfort that happens when we’re acting in a way that doesn’t line up with our beliefs or thinking in a way that doesn’t line up with our behaviors. And because we naturally want to avoid discomfort at all costs, our brain subconsciously changes our beliefs to match our behaviors or vise versa.
For example, if I know eating sugar is bad for my health, but I keep eating it every day, I would experience cognitive dissonance- my beliefs don’t line up with my behavior. To resolve this inner conflict, I may adjust my belief to Well it’s not that bad. It’s way better than drinking alcohol! Or, I might change my behavior to match my belief that sugar is bad for my health by reducing the amount of sugar I eat every day.
It’s a tricky concept, but it explains why our beliefs can get so skewed away from the truth! Enough times of trying to give up sugar and not being able to, our brain concludes This is just too hard. Our brain, remember, is trying to avoid discomfort, so it tells us This is hard to fit in line with our actions (continuing to eat sugar) and keep us away from the fear and discomfort of trying and failing.
So next time you tell yourself This is hard, get curious about what really is going on. Is it too hard or are you scared of the discomfort that could come with trying? The good news is sitting in discomfort and working through difficult moments is where all your growth happens!
And as always, know that Team MC and the Beacon are here to help. We’re here rooting you on always.