From a young age, we develop our identities through self-image. Through self-image we create perceptions of how we view our beliefs, ourselves and the world.
We genuinely believe we see the world realistically and act in rationale ways. When our own thoughts and behaviour are challenged, or accusations are thrown at us, the self-image we have developed takes a knock. Our experiences create cognitive dissonance, a form of tension and stress is the reason why we fail to take responsibility.
Stress arises when we attempt to have or hold two conflicting beliefs, ideas, opinions or attitudes at the same time. For example, we know smoking is bad for us and yet we still continue to smoke.
On the one-hand we want clarity through closure, but we still continue to contradict ourselves; we know what we need to do to have clarity and closure, but we justify the means for not getting it done. We find reasons to justify our thinking.
We work things out as we go, but that doesn’t mean we will get things right. When we make mistakes, the gap made between our self-image and questionable behaviour creates the ‘cognitive dissonance.’
We can either admit we made a mistake and re-evaluate our thinking, or we can continue to justify our behaviour, so that our thinking is not in conflict with our self-image. When we continue to justify ourselves, we will always come to evaluate our own understanding of the way we see things, not what is right.
Sadly, in those moments where we put a different slant on things, on how we want things to go, we will always avoid taking responsibility on doing what’s right.