Such a boring but ubiquitous topic.
To me it means the gap between “the way things are” and “the way things should be”. The gap between “how you feel”, but “what you think”. The distance between your body experience, and your mind experience.
“The way things should be” is subjective and has something to do with your expectations, social conditioning, values.
Last night, for my kids birthday we put the band back together. You know, mum and dad and son and daughter gathered to let them eat cake. We put our seperated family back together because we thought it would be nice for the kids. It’s how it “should be”.
“The way thing are” is that we are separated and divorcing. So there’s a gap.
I know that I don’t want to be romantically involved with my husband anymore, and I am glad we have new lives. One sentence here so as not to protesteth.
But the dissonance from some deep level gets me. All those fairy tales, all that hope, effort, history. I think I have done the right thing and that life is better; I feel guilty and sad about it and then annoyed that I’m not glad and chipper. It’s tough to close the dissonance gap using only common sense. Because the feelings are irrational. You can’t think your way out of dissonance because thinking is only one side of the equation.
To alleviate the pain caused by the dissonance gap, I justify (which would be this writing), I deny (which would be the time I just ignore it) and I delude. The delusion is my favourite.
Recently my delusion has led me to the conclusion that my husband didn’t want to be in a relationship with me anyway. And in fact hasn’t wanted to be for years. All the signs were there physically. I think he did all the dissonance tricks, but for whatever fundamental reason he wanted it mentally but didn’t feel it in his body.
Ironically, now separated he still feels dissonance! This time because he wants to be separated but thinks he shouldn’t want it and should be jilted. He feels liberated, but thinks he should feel victimised and pained. Actually, he flipped his dissonance to get him on both sides.
This time I smell a rat because I am not so close.
This hypothesis could be completely wrong and fabricated for my own delusion. It doesn’t really matter.
The tendency to delusion means I need to ask a lot of questions. It might feel like inerrgation but actually it’s a way of checking my own internal mechanisms. It also explains why I am prepared to quickly dump ideas that don’t find basis – I have found far to many that are fabricated but feel real. Designed in fact to align feelings with thinking.