I'll see if I can put my thoughts, which seem profound in my head, on paper and have them make any kind of sense. I've been thinking about universal laws; as defined by the 'new thought movement'. More specifically the 'Law of Attraction' and how the way we deal with cognitive dissonance helps explain the law of attraction.
Let's accept, for sake of this discussion, the idea that our reality is a result of our thoughts. Also meaning that two people can be having the same experience but each person's reality is different. One person's reality might be that they think of themselves as a victim (so their reality turns out quite dismal) and the other person's reality may be that they think of themselves as living a charmed life (so everything always turns out roses). Then because of these two opposite 'subjective realities' of victim vs charmed life; a physical reality begins to shape and both realities exist side by side; having been born from the same exact experience.
I know I'm simplifying and I know there are many hard questions not answered by this simplistic point of view. I'm not attempting to answer all questions in one writing. I'm just not that good. What I am attempting to do is answer how cognitive dissonance; more specifically how we choose to deal with cognitive dissonance, and the law of attraction are intertwined.
In my previous post I mentioned that people will use one, or more, of these three strategies to reduce or minimize dissonance:
- Focus on more supportive beliefs that outweigh the dissonant belief or behavior
- Reduce the importance of the conflicting belief
- Change the conflicting belief so that it is consistent with other beliefs or behaviors
These strategies all boil down to the act of accumulating, or accepting, the things into our reality that fit our beliefs while at the same time rejecting those things that don't. As we do this, either on an unconscious or conscience level, we form our reality. Our reality then supports and validates our beliefs; our beliefs become more and more solid and other people's thoughts and experiences don't shake our belief. Because our belief is now our reality. Our reality is only what we accept into it.
If we think we are going to fail and if we think we have a lousy job. If that's our belief then we will only accept the things into our reality that support and validate that belief therefore 'attracting' more like experiences that will continue to validate our belief. Eventually we create the reality that our life sucks and our experience is proof of it.
Maybe this formula will explain how I think about it:
(Cognitive Dissonance) >> Discomfort/Anxiety >> Strategies to reduce cognitive dissonance >> Accepting only experiences that validate our belief >> Proof of our belief >> More experiences and information that prove our belief (Law of Attraction) >> Reality.
Am I making any sense to anyone out there?
Occasionally we bump up against someone or something that seems very real and important but it goes against our belief and our reality and it causes cognitive dissonance. Sometimes it's obvious that it's time to tackle this dissonance rather than just minimize it.
If we want to change our reality then we need to examine our beliefs and be willing to blow them apart; totally deconstruct our entire belief system to see which belief(s) are the cause of the dissonance. This is a difficult process. It can mean turning our backs on things we have held dear to us all of our lives; however, I believe that if beliefs we have always held near and dear to us are worth keeping they will fit into our new paradigm, our new reality, and as we reconstruct our belief system the tenants that matter most to us will survive IF they support the reality we now want.
If we want to change our reality we need to take the formula above and break the cycle; change it up a bit. It's difficult to do because on an unconscious level we are following the strategies above; so we need to be very conscious in how we approach this effort.
Cognitive Dissonance >> Discomfort/Anxiety >> Identify the conflicting belief >> Open up to the possibility that your belief may be wrong >> Non-objectively gather information that disproves your belief (deconstruct) >> Put it all back together again; allowing only the information that validates, and supports, your desired belief (reconstruct) >> Proof of desired belief >> Reality (Law of Attraction).
For me this makes sense. I guess it fits my current reality and my current belief system. Somewhere along the line someone will say something or I'll read or experience something that cause cognitive dissonance and I will start the whole thing over again.
Life is learning...