One of the worst things I could ever do this year, was find out that the Latino center added a Wii U to its recreational space. I have never owned a console of my own, but I did gain experience while playing on my cousin’s system back home in California. My cousin and I would spend hours together playing Super Smash Bros, Super Mario Bros, Mario Kart, and anything in between, so when the game system in the living room caught my attention, I knew there would be trouble in store for me. I considered playing a match of Super Smash Bros, so I asked my friend Juan to step in and join me. He did, and then that one match turned to two, then four, then six, and before we knew it we had spent three hours fighting against one another in the game. I looked at the time and saw that it was two in the morning, what had I done?

That night, my behavior was at odds with my attitudes, and in order to settle the cognitive dissonance I was feeling, I recognized that I needed to add a new cognition to justify my behavior. As I thought about what went wrong, I considered what I had been doing to prior to gaming. That day I had spent six hours in Tisch library, and then I went to the Latino center to take a break. Maybe that break was longer than it should have been, but, I needed it. Or atleast, that’s what I told myself. If I had gone back to work mode after a thirty minute break, I would have burned out, and at that point is productivity even possible? After much thinking I was able to convince myself that the time I spent gaming was justified, and I was no longer upset with myself.

Cognitive dissonance has the power to decrease a person’s self esteem, as it had done with me. The only way I felt capable of settling that instability, was to come up with a new belief, and after I had done so, I was at peace.

My awareness of this psychological concept makes me reconsider just how justified my actions were that night. Was it really okay for me to have spent three hours gaming? Looking back, it wasn’t, but what I recognize now doesn’t change the fact that I needed to get rid of the internal discomfort I was feeling. Although I am aware of this concept, it doesn’t change my behavior. I know that this will happen again, but I will still try to settle any distressing thoughts I have with myself because I need balance.

 

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