Cognitive Dissonance--affecting our happiness

What is Cognitive Dissonance? As I understand it, cognitive dissonance is the feeling of discomfort or anxiety we feel when we face a reality not fitting our beliefs. For instance when I was young, growing up a faithful Mormon girl, I had a very rigid and strong belief system. I knew nothing about ‘gay people’ except that it was wrong and immoral. Being gay meant someone was absolutely abhorrent and sinful; the scourge of the earth causing empires to fail. So at the age of ten when I found myself attracted to the girl up the street rather than the boy I climbed trees with I had to find a way to push those feelings aside because I knew being gay was sinful. I got rid of the dissonance by believing that I was a good person and this outweighed the feeling of being gay. I knew I was good and gay was bad; therefore, there was no possibility I was gay. Problem solved; until next time.

Feelings for the ‘fairer sex’ continued throughout my life; over and over again, getting stronger and more difficult to deny as I grew older. I dated boys but at the same time I secretly entertained thoughts of being with girls. These thoughts scared me so I would immediately try to find an explanation fitting my belief system. The explanation I came up with was that these girls and, later in life, women I found myself so drawn to were ‘soul mates’; women I knew in pre-existing life where we had been very close and had a spiritual connection so strong and unbreakable that it crossed into this life. My life was filled with soul mates, so many beautiful soul mates.

Saving Dad

Some of you know I'm making an attempt at writing my auto-biography. I've managed to get further than ever before. Yay me!!!

I wanted to post an excerpt; tell me what you think. I am trying to find my voice and my audience. So your feedback will be valuable.

Saving Dad

The Mormon Church played heavily in our lives; like a stern patriarch always present always dissatisfied, always looking for perfection, and on the flip side providing me with stability, structure, kindness and love. I knew what was what and there was no changing my mind about right and wrong. I was raised by an entire community of good Mormon folks who truly had the best of intentions.

I was eight years old sitting in my Sunday school class leaning my metal chair back on two legs against the pale green cinder block walls. I listened as Sister Powell talked about the ‘ideal’ family with the father at the head of the household. “A family that doesn't have a strong, faithful father at the head is a family in chaos; they will never be an eternal family.” Sister Powell stated. In my eight year old mind I knew my family was not the ‘ideal’ family and something needed to be done. I walked out of Sunday school that day determined to save my family from an eternity of separation and damnation.