Have you ever been so sure of something that you just couldn't allow yourself to accept an alternative?
Perhaps it was a business idea, a political view or a choice of partner.
Has your view ever been used to justify an action that you know is not right? Continuing to dig yourself deeper into a bad business idea, refusal to see another political point of view or staying with a partner when you know the relationship is not right for you.
You take actions that bolster your opinion such as surrounding yourself with people who will tell you your business idea is great, people with the same political view as you or refusing to discuss why the relationship is not working.
This is cognitive dissonance.
It occurs when we allow ourselves to form an opinion so strong that to consider an alternative would cause immense mental discomfort.
We're all guilty of it. It takes a lot of mental effort to even realize we're practicing cognitive dissonance, and even more effort to correct it.
The good news is that you can break through the mental barrier and start to look at each situation in an objective manner to determine whether a change in your behavior or point of view is required.
Next time you engage in behaviors or points of view where cognitive dissonance may be playing a part, try to stop immediately and assess the reality. You'll no doubt experience some mental discomfort.
It's not a quick process. It takes time. But the more you practice, the less discomfort you'll feel, the more efficient you will become and the quicker you will start making positive changes.
Watch out for cognitive dissonance. It's not your friend.