Why cognitive dissonance affects young people the most

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Growing up, it’s hard to know who you are.

Although you may believe in some things when you’re young, they aren’t truly grounded in you through experience.

That’s why so many young people aren’t self-confident. They may think they believe in something, but if someone were to argue against their belief, they may find that it crumbles.

For an extreme example, let’s say you were raised to be a racist. Your parents would tell you all other races outside of yours are awful. Now growing up, you’d kind of believe that, but you would have a lingering doubt: “what if I’m wrong?”

What if while bullying a kid of a different race in elementary school, you felt pain? What if you felt bad that you did that?

You’d have two conflicting thoughts: other races are bad BUT also other races are people too otherwise I wouldn’t have felt bad.

This concept in psychology is called cognitive dissonance.

It is the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.

For success-oriented people, this is why you may participate in activities that should be fun, but you can’t seem to relax, because you’d rather do something more productive.

For others, this may mean binge-drinking at a party when they know that it’s going to result in a load of negative side-effects the morning after and ruin their day.

You need more knowledge of yourself, more experiences that prove what you want to believe.

Because the more we can remove cognitive dissonance from ourselves, the more clear we can be on our purpose and our future.