Cognitive dissonance occurs when you suddenly hear completely conflicting information about a long-held belief. It causes stress and anxiety, and can change your brain pathways to that which resemble someone with PTSD.
A good example of cognitive dissonance is someone who began smoking during the years that the Marlboro Man commercials were running. Sexy, mysterious, the actor playing this role made smoking look cool and tough. These ads were soon followed by Joe Camel. Both depicted a habit that was thought to be completely acceptable. And then. . .lung cancer became the new enemy.
Many smokers went into complete denial. “That won’t happen to me.” Some thought they should just cut back. And there were others who probably thought “what the hell, I’m going to die someday, anyway” and increased their consumption. These behaviors were maladaptive, in order to lessen the belief’s conflict. Cognitive dissonance occurred when they encountered someone, or heard evidence of smoking-induced lung cancer. Cortisol would flood the body and eventually contribute to chronic inflammation, the root cause of most diseases.
Cognitive dissonance can occur when a trusted source of information suddenly denounces everything they supported, or even removes evidence of such. I believe we are in a time when such things are occurring. So, how do you reconcile conflicting beliefs?
Avoidance can be helpful, but might be just putting your head in the sand. Defiance, which may or may not get you into trouble. Changing your belief, but you might want to perform due diligence of fact-checking both sets of beliefs. But ultimately, it comes down to what do you feel in your gut. Your gut is an extremely powerful sensory device. You’ve had that sick feeling when you are around someone who makes you feel bad or is scary. Trust that feeling. Make time for meditation so you can tune into the Universe and ask for guidance. Don’t worry if you don’t hear anything immediately. The Universe will get the answer to you in multiple ways, even with a song playing over and over in your head. When you feel inside that you have your truth, seek out like-minded individuals who will support you.
Just don’t make yourself sick over someone’s lies.