A friend and I were having lunch the other day and regaling over the times in our lives we had been lost in a state of denial. More succinctly, we were lamenting over the consequences. We each agreed that we had learned a great deal from those experiences but wondered at human frailty. As I left the luncheon, I had to admit there are simply times in life when we, as humans, talk ourselves out of what our gut is trying to tell us. What keeps us so stubbornly locked into our perspective, even when doing so can hurt us or others?
I really began thinking about the times I have been in denial. I had to admit at those times I was simply, at some level, being dishonest with myself. As I look back, part of the denial was a blindfold made from hope. I always hoped for the best, even when I was making the worst decisions. I somehow thought that if I did things the same way I had always done things, I would find my way out of the mess I found myself in. Benjamin Franklin is attributed for giving insanity this definition. And “insane” I have been at times in my life. I have to admit that my own moments of denial have taken me into a mental maze…a maze of my own making. The walls of my maze were built of misperceptions, misconceptions, and rules that simply were outdated and inappropriate, leading me to feelings of disenchantment and defeat. Things only changed for me when I decided the truth was safer than the denial.
So, I became the foreman of my own mental wrecking crew! BUT…I also learned the value of being kind to myself. There is a great deal to be gained in personal compassion, it leaks out to others! I think denial is built on false principles…lots of misinformation piled high that hangs around in our subconscious. Its voice speaks to us loudly, especially when we are aimed at something we thing we must have, must do. Remember that maze I built? I got out my shears and trimmed it down to nothing. I am moving cautiously forward these days. And just in case, I am keeping my shears nearby in case another denial starts growing up around me.