Who doesn’t love the idea of light topics such as maturation, personal growth, developing greater understanding of the world around us and expanding our wisdom reservoir? A lot of us are all for these things, until the reality, and the growing pains, sink in.
We always start by telling our weight loss clients to “Let go of everything you think you know about food, health and nutrition.” But trashing the messaging they’ve heard their entire life to make room for transformational new thoughts is far easier said then done. Opening your mind to possibility and the opportunity for growth requires some purging of original place holding information, thoughts, and beliefs. Can you remember a time or two when you were taking in something new, but finding it difficult to adopt it wholeheartedly due to old pesky thoughts—with their long spindly tendrils embedded deep into your mind?
Cognitive Dissonance is the crescendo of what you have known to be true and new, conflicting information sharing the same space in your mind at the same time. It’s that painful space of contradictions and confusions and stubbornness and hope all fighting it out for the sake of interpersonal growth or (depending on which voice wins—the old or the new) interpersonal paralyzation. You aren’t quite ready to let go of what you have always “known” to be the TRUTH, or the WAY, or the WORD, even in the face of the new information, no matter how enticing. And the math on this looks a little like: the longer you’ve had the old information comfortably tucked into your noggin, the greater the crash when the new information finds its way in. Growing pains, baby. I remember being stuck in this space a few times with my first health coach. It hit me one day after pushing back on him, again, that I had paid him to coach me, to change my life, and I was fighting him on it as though I could teach him a thing or two.
I experience cognitive dissonance every now and then, but am very aware of what’s happening now, so I can set the internal dialogue to “You’ve got this” when I feel that discomfort—those growing pains—and then turn up the velocity of the act of growing and changing.
“A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.”