The Mental Gatekeeper

One of psychology’s most popular images is that of the gatekeeper strategically positioned between the conscious and unconscious minds to prevent certain unconscious contents from emerging into conscious awareness. We imagine some sort of autonomous process that filters out the unacceptable while allowing only “the good stuff” to pass. The trouble with this notion is…

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How to Recognize Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is usually defined as “the feeling of discomfort when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting cognitions: ideas, beliefs, values, or emotional reactions.” (Wikipedia) Or, “the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes.” (COED) The less familiar aspect of the distressing mental state – that we can also get into trouble when our…

Disliking Yourself

Inner emptiness, the inability to tolerate being alone are symptomatic of a lack of self-knowledge, a poorly defined sense of self. Sufferers often describe the chronic condition as a feeling of loneliness. People with this problem usually have a desperate need for the regard and affection of others, said regard and affection providing the means…

Second-Hand Worldview

Most folks just buy into the consensus worldview of their time unquestioningly adopting it as they grow to maturity, but this means we have a second-hand worldview made by others. (Image: public domain.) Human beings have an inborn need to make sense of their lives and the world around them. The drive is stronger in…