Physical manifestations of cognitive dissonance? (HK me vs Australia me)

It’s weird. I act so differently when I’m in HK to when I’m in Australia, it’ like I’m a whole different person. In Australia, up until very recently I was really very quiet in social situations, I didn’t talk much, and I never really said anything controversial or impure. Anyone who knows me from Hong Kong or from cricket will have read that last sentence and wondered if I’ve had a lobotomy or something! When I lived in HK, quiet was not a word you would associate with me. I was boisterous, cheeky, and very ‘harm sup’!

I think the change was somewhat location-based, as whenever I came back to HK – for cricket tours or just holidays – I’d revert back to my old loud self, only to be very quiet when I returned to Australia. I put it down to being in a new country with people I’d only just met, and that probably I would come around eventually… it took about a year, but I suppose I was right!

It got me thinking about cognitive dissonance, which I had learnt about in high school. I started seeing my HK self as the ‘ideal’ self, and my Australian reality as my ‘real’ self, which was peculiar because I was in reality living both, just not in the same country. Just as the cognitive dissonance causes a form of stress and unhappiness, I saw the same creeping up in my mind whenever I spent long times in Australia, only to disappear when I returned to Hong Kong. It was as if I was getting tastes of my ‘ideal’ self in HK, which was enough to keep me happy over through the Australian periods..

All that said, I’ve noticed I’m slowly becoming more like my HK self in Australia, which is good – that’s the real me!



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