Letter on my cognitive dissonance while self-actualizing

I have been dealing with symptoms of dissonance cognitive in the crossroads of what society wants me to do and what my inner self expects me to choose.  

I already dealt with both Maslow’s theory of needs and Festinger’s Cognitive Dissonance theories. Six years ago, I have engaged into a process of self-actualization. I decided to hear and follow my inner impulse which has always wanted me to be an artist, writing poetry and hand-building stuff.  Before 2014, I managed to understand what society expected to me, what it required to be a successful person.

As it is said everywhere across the world, I knew I had to go to school, get a degree and then a nice job. That is why I went to an engineer school after my high school. Unfortunately, I remained just one year there during which I wrote a lot of poems, must of them during classes. I felt any interest for what was teaching in that school in spite of the fact I was a good pupil in sciences.

Even from there I did not go to the school of art, which was close to the school of sciences. I was too attentive to what people thought. I must go to a school from which I should get out with a degree which would open the job markets outdoor to me.

I ended up going to social sciences school where, at least, I learned to write better, but not poetry. I became Journalist, but between two journalistic activities there was a poem. Poetry was so present in my life that people brought theirs to me for suggestion. While I worked on people’s poems destined to publication, I did not believe that mines were good enough to be released.

In 2014, I met someone who invited me to an audience about success. If the essential of what they will say was more about earning money through selling and building networks, I drawn from there things that boasted my confidence, and led to a talk with myself.

Thus, I realized that my inner impulse was waiting for me for a conversation between best friends, and from that conversation, I began to do what I found out I was born for – writing and art-building using clay. Certainly, I blamed myself for losing so much time, but I concluded that it was not too late to be in agreement with my original self.

That year coincided then with the beginning of a process of self-actualization. It is a tough initiative. Self-actualization locates on top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Higher you reach less easy the access to the corresponding need.

In Maslow’s theory, the psychological needs depend almost on our relation with nature and a certain social relationship; the security needs stand upon a society where leadership and economic development happen; the belongingness/love needs and esteem needs which constitute the psychological needs repose on strong social relationship and our ability to get the most out of social environment. We satisfy all these needs thanks to our deep socialization/education and from the available resources in society. What about our being, our humanity, our essence?

However, self-actualization works differently. To access it we need to hear the message that comes from the bottom of our being, an isolate place where socialization has no access. Since this communion with our being-depth is done, our self-actualization starts. We do what we love and joyfully, no matter what our environment thinks. At this moment, we are not anymore, a receiver for the society; we rather become an emitter; unfortunately, a few people are part of our audience.

With the process of self-actualization in progress, I arrived in the United States few years ago. There, it is a new culture that requires a new socialization which passes by learning a new language. I will later face with a conflict when last year I had to enter college. Given my situation, people advised me, and the word “marketability” emerged as a wall in my head. Even some professors I spoke to discouraged me to choose neither art, nor Literature nor History.

I am in my 40s, so I could not make the mistake to spend money to get no job after four years, suggested a friend with considers bachelor in English as “useless”. Cognitive Dissonance. My process of self-actualization stopped. I ceased to invest myself in what I was designed for, because all my advisers converged through the same thing: Science or Technology.

To get rid of that dissonance, I had two choices: sciences or technologies, or something in the middle. This is the second choice I made as I opted for a double major in Communication Technology and Journalism. I am more and less satisfied as there are a lot of writings in these majors and I began analyzing literature and art works. But my inner impulse is still blaming me because it wants me to be a poet with skill in art building.

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