If I Were You, I Would...

How many times a day do you come across situations in which you might say to yourself (or out loud), "If I were you, I would..." or "She should..." or " If he knew what was best for him, he would..."

Seems we all know what others SHOULD do, but when it comes to ourselves? Well, the same rules don't always apply.

This phenomenon happens so frequently, we now have a name for it... we call it cognitive dissonance. Simply put, it's when you have conflicting thoughts about a situation or when your thoughts don't line up with your behaviors. But, I like to call it more plainly: It's when you fail to follow your own advice.

As a therapist in Honolulu, in session, I might ask - "How would you advise a friend who is undervalued in her relationship?" Of course, she would answer, "I would tell her to leave his sorry a--!"

But, when I point out how she's being undervalued in her own relationship, the same rules don't apply. She knows leaving is the right thing to do, but feels conflicted because her emotions are telling her to stay.

Sound familiar?

We experience cognitive dissonance all the time--and usually it resolves itself when we explore all the feelings and logic behind a certain situation. BUT, it can also be quite distressing. When the head says one thing and the heart says another, the experience can be one of the most distressing experiences for humans.

And, cognitive dissonance doesn't just show up in relationships. Think of how many times you struggle with what feels right vs. what feels good. Cognitive dissonance, my friend.

We are humans, and we have the capacity to think and feel many things at once. But, beware when you have long-held beliefs you're willing to sacrifice in order to get what you want in the moment.


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