The Psychology of “Dealing with Dissonance”

The Psychology of “Dealing with Dissonance”

We often find ourselves in crisis when the world operates disproportionately to our values or meaning or the purpose, we look out of life. As we perceive the world around, we find ourselves constantly in a dynamic conflict between ‘attempts of an outer world to impose an actuality on us’ (and) ‘our efforts to transform this actuality into a self-centered perspective’. This conflict may lead to dissonance.

What is Dissonance?

Dissonance arises when we engage in behaviors that are inconsistent with our attitudes or beliefs.

Why Dissonance occurs?

The constant dynamic conflict with the world around may not result in an equilibrium always (rather most of the times), there is every possibility to be in pressing situations that may demand behaviors of us contrary to what we believe at an integral level. Why would anyone like to be a split within? No one would want to.

What are the sources of Dissonance?

Mostly our significant others (for the sake of the context being discussed here), while there could similar situations with every individual that we encounter in general; the magnitude is on larger scale with significant others.

If someone means so much to us, we find ourselves in conflicting situations (dissonance) where we can neither completely give (ourselves) in, nor give up on them that takes a cost on our psyche.

Give in Vs Not Give up?

‘Giving in’ means to yield or to surrender under pressure. This poses a threat to one’s integrity and

refers to one’s admittance of impotence, which will have great impact on one’s psychological well being and thereby physiological well being too in longer run. Any act, behavior, choice, or decision which is unauthentic but of external pressure or resentment will eventually lead to far more problems than if it were authentic in the first place.

It’s not the loss of materialism, or losing people that kills the soul, but our own thought of ‘any compromise we may ever have on our incessant drive to sustain our Integrity given any circumstances’, will.

Why does it kill the soul?

Once we engage in behaviors that are NOT in alignment with our soul, we engage ourselves in ‘Energy Prostitution’; which refers to giving of one’s energy and time, in exchange of acceptance by someone or something, by which we not only impair our integrity but incur losing huge amount of our energy owing to external factors. Energy loss (through these ways) is kind of self-destructive, rather suicidal to the soul.

“To sell your soul is the easiest thing in the world. That's what everybody does every hour of his life. If I asked you to keep your soul - would you understand why that's much harder?”

 Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)

Any ‘need’ that involves the want of something at the cost & compromise of one’s Integral self, will

eventually lead to the loss of both!

So, what’s the way out?

 “To be Yourself”

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.

What does it mean ‘To be yourself’?

To ‘Be Yourself’ is neither being rigid nor arrogant, nor is it any self-indulgence. To ‘Be Yourself’ is ‘Being Authentic & Integral’ & ‘Being Coherent & Consistent’ to one’s attitudes, beliefs, actions & behaviors.

"No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."


So, the question is not if we can be ourselves but if we can own us too in the process.

Does that mean we give up on others in the process of owning ourselves?

Not necessarily, more than giving up or not giving up, we learn to stand for ourselves. If we dance to the tunes of the world around, we will not only continue to dance but we let the drama to last longer as we are equally contributing to it. But if we learn to dance to the rhythm of our own soul, we are authentic, and the drama may eventually stop. In that process, whatever is to stay, will stay; and which does not was never meant to be in the first place.

What happens when we learn to stand for ourselves given any circumstances?

One of the below likely outcomes may manifest:

  • We may lose our significant others in case they don’t find our authentic self as right & relevant in their life. It was never meant to be rather. While this may not be a constructive outcome, far relatively better than damaging one’s soul.
  • Our significant others may understand our authentic self and be accommodative and supportive with time as we have been consistent in demonstrating our Integrity given any circumstances or pressing This is for sure a positive outcome.
  • Our consistent actions, behaviors may even bring a change and transform our significant others in a longer run for their betterment. This is a noble outcome and is for greater good.


Let our Essence precede our Existence

Let our Spirit drive our Method

Let our Intent initiate our Action

Let our Awareness cause our Thought

Let our Instinct transcend our knowledge

Let our Intuition become our Compass

Let our Integrity pave way for our Evolution…!


 “If you lose your wealth, you have lost nothing; if you lose your health, you have lost something; but if

you lose your integrity, you have lost everything.”

Integrity is the proof of our consciousness; hence proof of existence and Integrity is Everything!

About the Author

Visweswaran Balasubramanian
Practice Manager (IT).

I am Visu, currently working as a Practice Manager with Oracle Corporation in Bangalore, India. I have done my Post Graduation (PGCHRM) with XLRI,

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