What happens when we come face to face with our own inconsistencies? It may
happen when broken New Year’s Resolutions become far too apparent to ignore. Or,
it hits us when we say one thing to our children, and an inner voice reminds us
that we don’t walk our talk. At work, we make a bold statement to our peers and
feel a twinge of guilty conscience: we feel the hypocrisy inside.
Psychologists call it “cognitive dissonance”, a state of discomfort when we say
one thing but do another. We will go to any lengths to avoid that feeling, hence
we construct an elaborate system of delusions, denial, and some behaviors we
don’t even notice.
The price we pay by not facing these paradoxes is fatigue, irritability, and
lack of energy. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to maintain the different
sides of our personality in some sort of harmony.
Human beings are complex animals, with competing drives and a multitude of
values. It is not easy to know oneself well. How do you honor core values
without self-knowledge and the ability to juggle more than one competing value?
The full version of this article discusses the following concepts:
The Price of Self-Ignorance
16 Basic Drives
Identifying Competing Values
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