Recognizing Cognitive Dissonance

I’m afraid that many people conflate being kind and accepting of others with accepting their ideas, opinions, and actions. Everything newsworthy, our problems, and all things political have lately been boiled down into a binary viewpoint. Either you agree or you don’t (you hater), which is it?

In my humble opinion, this oversimplified process is primarily inspired by intellectual laziness. The rest is a militant form of ‘virtue signaling’. Virtue signaling is also a product of laziness but holds an element of insecurity that can’t be overlooked.

If two kids are discussing the outdoor temperature and one is reading a Fahrenheit scale and the other is reading Celsius, their numbers are going to be WAY off. They might argue all day long to no avail. That’s why adults add defining factors beyond the binary numerical findings to avoid confusion.
Incidentally, the kids could be both factually correct or one or both could even have read their thermometer incorrectly. To find out takes a little effort and analysis.

Why then do intelligent, decent, adults accept and project an “either/or” opinion on anything?
As adults, you would think they have noticed that all real-life situations have many, if not hundreds, of variables.
Those who insist, or infer, that any disagreement with their personal perception is ‘hateful’, because their ‘facts’ sound and feel so ‘good’, also have another problem besides their enforced ‘virtue signaling’. It’s called ‘cognitive dissonance’. Yes, it is a mental condition, and everyone might be wise to understand it.

People who have cognitive dissonance are those who don’t want any disruption to their over-simplified ‘feel good’ world view. They have internalized it and any reevaluation, even when presented with new mitigating information, is just too upsetting. IMHO, they’re also lazy. Deconstructing such an internalized opinion is hard, not to mention, humbling. Instead, people like that must make “square pegs fit into round holes” in order to maintain what has become “their essence”.
To do that, people with cognitive dissonance make it their mission to dismiss and vilify all assaults on their comfortable conclusions. They use vague one-size-fits all terms like ‘mean’ or ‘nice’ and turn any honest discussion quickly into a complaint of an assault on themselves. Instead of explaining their views, the discussion is turned immediately to the topic of the other person’s bad manners or ‘unfair’, possibly racist or inhumane, intentions.
Why wouldn’t they passionately defend themselves, after all, they have defined their own ‘goodness’ {their own human value} through “group think” acceptance and feeling ‘good’ about themselves by using a childlike oversimplified template of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. It’s an easy-peasy process for those who crave validation.

This brings me to my initial point. I’m struggling with some ideas often presented. They’re over-simplified and seem not to have been thought through.
Some are:

“Respect and love everyone.”

Does that mean I should respect and love Vladimir Putin?

“Black Lives Matter”

Duh, we know that. Who are you talking to exactly? Oh, all those ‘bad people’ who are everywhere. I get it.

“Dogs are better people than people.”

Well, some are, and some aren’t still most of them are loyal, brave, and loving BUT would you put them “in charge” of anything? Give me a break. {BTW-People are predominantly all those things too.}

And the worst are suggestions that we must agree and embrace all people’s ideas and actions in order to be “inclusive”.

No, we don’t. We should be kind and decent to each other without giving up our values and betraying other virtues in the process.

As this is an opinion piece, spare me the “You don’t have a Psychology degree.” or ” You’re mean.” comments. I don’t define myself through the filter of my own or other people’s opinions because all of those are (and should be) subject to change. (No cognitive dissonance here. lol)

News Flash…Good character has concrete parameters and isn’t a matter of opinion.
Have a nice day y’all!

SoCS Saturday- As the saying goes…

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “a phrase you grew up with.” Include in your post a phrase your mom/dad/grandparent/sibling used all the time when you were growing up, or just write whatever inspires you based on that phrase. Enjoy!

This is a premature posting. I hope no one minds. My schedule for tomorrow is hectic and I didn’t want to miss this prompt.

I’ve had an old, and widely used, saying rattling in my brain lately. This prompt couldn’t have come at a better time!
My parents often remarked to the child version of me, “Don’t make a federal case out of it.”
Little kids, and all teenagers, tend to ‘panic’ when their immediate ‘gratifications’ aren’t met. There’s a good reason that this happens…they have yet to learn how to prioritize their problems, or needs, in a mature fashion because they’re kids.
Remember how forgetting your library book on ‘library’ day was an “end of life” crisis?
We laugh now but those struggles and emotions are all too real to the 10-year-old who is experiencing that kind of emergency!
Hard as it is to believe, many ‘adults’ want a “federal case” on everything today. Stranger still, our media is calling everything a “crisis” purposefully promoting that reaction!
Well, sensationalism IS good for that business. Money talks louder than principle after all.
It just seems like adults, with a healthy mature outlook, wouldn’t be falling for it in such large numbers.

The use of that saying held a wise message during the time I grew up. To me, it asked for a prioritizing of what I found troubling. It also asked me to pause and use my head. I don’t know anyone who would propose a total meltdown for every disappointment. How exhausting for the person having it AND those being subjected to it! What modern society calls being ‘triggered’*, we used to call a ‘tantrum’. Fortunately, only kids (and unstable adults) were prone to tantrums, once upon a time.
Nowadays? Meltdowns are more common than… sense.
This isn’t a good look or sign of any stabilizing maturity.
Don’t forget, that tantrums used to be handled by ignoring them or punishing those who were exhibiting a need for a “reality check”. Either way, those eruptions were quickly curbed because they weren’t allowed to get any results.
From watching the news, specifically the commentators and those ‘looked up to’ for leadership, there’s a current effort to promote ’emotional unraveling’ on EVERY topic to unhinged extremes. Adults are clearly not in-charge anymore. That makes me very nervous about the future. [ Don’t overlook that the chaos and unrest -created by the ‘unhinged’- is used against our own interests by corrupt forces. It makes for a lovely diversion of our attention away from truly critical matters.]
Here’s an idea?
Perhaps we should bring back the saying, “Don’t make a federal case out of it.”, starting an overdue journey back toward maturity and common sense.
First action? Posting it on a banner in the halls of Congress. 😉

Happy Saturday friends! Cheers!

* If this post ‘triggers’ you, try taking deep breaths or having a glass of wine.

Subliminal Messages: What we really are telling kids.

Jenn & John 108

Why do we adults avoid telling kids the truth?

I’m not talking about the “birds and the bees” at an inappropriate age. I’m thinking more about just telling them why things, that they don’t like, are good for them. I do it too. The little song and dance for vegetables. The demand that homework be done first, before play….”because I said so.”

Well, I have started telling the kids the “whys” and “why nots” more often. If they don’t, at first, understand my reasons…I’m going to keep at it until they do. Like eating vegetables, the plain truth can taste bad but we keep offering the vegetables, why not keep explaining?

My daughter, Ellen, surprised and pleased me yesterday. (BTW-She does it often.) Her daughter, Katherine, came home, from her first grade class, with valentines. One large red heart from the teacher was a “get-out-of 1 homework assignment” coupon.

Ellen grimaced. “I don’t like this.”

She was, in my opinion, exactly correct. What that coupon did was counteract the message that we’d worked to convey to Katherine. Homework is necessary. It helps you practice and remember your lessons and is the perfect gauge that measures if you really understood what is going on.

Instead, the message of homework as an optional drudgery, rang “clear as a bell”.

Ellen’s, advice to her daughter, was,”Let’s save this. You may be sick one day but I think, not using it , will bring you a reward. We’ll talk about the reward.”

We adults convey subliminal messages to kids with our reactions. I catch myself frequently and attempt not to do this.

I had remembered advice given by a dentist, who’d seen very many frightened kids coming for their first visits. He advised parents to never treat the dentist visit as “evil” with phrases like, “Sorry, but you have to go.” or “If you are very brave, we’ll get a treat after.” That stuck with me and I use that advice when I talk to kids about any subject. I listen to myself from the viewpoint of a child. Takes practice, and isn’t fool-proof, but advice worthy of sharing with all of you.

The Sweet Spoils of Outrage

I am very close to being outraged.

The act of outrage…yes, act is what it is most often…is an outrageously common occurrence.

In the area of human nature, there is a no more uncluttered petri dish than a child day care. I observe the most elemental parts of the human psyche daily.

Today, I foolishly engaged in a debate with a person who posted his own political commentary with his primary source, The Huffington Post.  (Stop groaning…I know who you are!)
I am a conservative leaning person. I am a republican. I’ve been told that I am naive, but I believe all political factions want what’s best for our country.

Disclaimers made, my interaction with this fellow American, who started his statements “You right-wingers…”,  was quite interesting. His “outrage” was over the current Rush Limbaugh controversy. (Ever realize how everything is either a controversy or crisis these days?)

I told him that I’d prefer that each individual decided to listen to him or not. I also said that I hadn’t listened to him in 2 years because I had decided he was a sexist creep. My biggest problem with this “liberal leaning” fellow’s opinion  was his inference that Limbaugh-Gate was the biggest problem our nation faces and that until he was proverbially “hung from a yardarm” our nation could not carry on its business.

My own comment follows:

I prefer that people use their own judgement. I stopped listening to Rush 2 years ago after a very sexist,and insensitive comment let me know he was a creep.
It always worries me when the “outraged” people want to draw their own line on what is acceptable in the face of free speech. I believe there is an underlying assumption that “outraged people” know what’s best for the masses. That thinking is distasteful to me. ♥

He retorted another text about those who divide us.


Starting an informative dialog with “You right-wingers” apparently missed his divisive meter.

Now for the child’s tantrum which made this post happen:

Sally got off of the preschool bus and came into my kitchen as my “all dayers” were finishing some hot chocolate. She very rudely demanded hot chocolate and was told, not now, lunch was approaching and besides, she had not asked politely.

Sally started crying and was ignored. Sally left the room and began screaming. “The dog is eating my bear toy! {tears…deep breathed growls…screeches}STOP HIM!”

I entered the room as the dog walked away from the bear. I was unsure if he ever touched it.

Sally’s screams of outrage continued. “It’s ruined! I’m telling my mom! Can I HAVE hot chocolate?!!!”

BINGO! The sweet spoils of outrage!

What does outrage do for us?

  • changes the subject
  • gets immediate full attention
  • gives us an opportunity to sneak our agenda into consideration.

From the example of babes, I now get the full picture.

From here on, I’m going to avoid the habitually outraged in order to talk with adults.

Zabby Eight Update 12/17/10

Zabby called Katherine on the play phone yesterday. Kat was happy to hear from her. Zabby was five strikes into her bowling tournament and she called to tell us how well that she was doing.

“Grandma, Zabby wants to tell you that she has five strikes!”

“Hello Zabby! This is Grandma. I’m so glad that you called to share your success with us. Katherine and I are very excited and we are cheering for you. Remember, even if you don’t get any more strikes, Katherine and I are so proud of you. We know you are trying your best.”

Katherine smiled while closing her eyes and hugging herself. She liked that message.


Ellen(Katherine’s Mom) just completed a very interesting paper about imaginary friends. It has only been deemed a positive thing for a child to have an imaginary world in recent years. The famed pediatrician, Dr. Brazzleton, thought a child should not be disturbed in their imaginary play. Ellen and I beg to differ. Katherine clearly knows real from imaginary. She practices scenarios about socialization and is thrilled to share them with us. Kids need to know what the adults in their life think about all sorts of issues. What better way to explore than in the imagination?

The sharing of virtues seems easy when we can interject them while playing. I’ve started encouraging imaginary friends with all my day care kids too. They love this idea and embrace the times that I can talk to them without seeming to lecture. It’s been a joy opening my eyes to this childhood ability and to document it for others.