Eradicate Denial in Your Life
Posted on January 24, 2012 in Self Improvement by Sandra Bienkowski
Denial is a tricky thing. Someone told me once that denial is the reason you see overweight women wearing tight white spandex in the mall. Now I know it’s the reason really bad singers are surprised when they get booted off American Idol. It’s Paula Deen claiming she didn’t get diabetes from eating her own (butter and sugar) cooking.
We all can have moments of denial. We sell ourselves on some illusion (of ourselves, of a relationship, of our behaviors) because reality is just a little too painful to digest. But healthy people spin out of these brief lapses of denial and reenter the world of reality. They look back on periods of denial and ask themselves questions like … What was I thinking? What could I have done differently? Why did I disconnect from what I know is true? They evaluate their actions and behaviors to change, and to be more connected and aware next time.
The less denial is a part of your life, the healthier and more fulfilling your life will be. People mired in denial are far from improving their lives because they can’t even admit what their issues are or that they are the cause. You can hold a mirror up to someone in denial and they don’t see themselves—not as they really are.
People who want their lives to continually improve—those who want to live their potential—are in a constant search and destroy mission to eradicate denial from their lives. These brave souls purposefully take a hard look at their choices, explanations and mistakes. They get up close and uncomfortable with their issues, and then take a good, long look. They take their insights and absorb them—even if they are painful.
As people move away from denial, they become unstuck. Progress happens. They don’t lie to themselves or others to appear more comfortable or likeable. They face issues, take full responsibility for their actions and resolve to improve. They don’t use other people or excuses to explain their problems. They make decisions faster because they know who they really are. They have more authentic relationships. They evolve.
If you shift your life constantly toward brutal honesty, you can eradicate denial from your life. You will become stronger every time you make it through a situation without selling yourself on some bedtime story to make yourself feel better. As a wise man once told me, “There’s a big difference between feeling better and getting better.” Without denial, you can live a more fulfilling life because you are completely present and fully engaged. There’s no unhealthy buffer between you and the world. Without denial, you can live full out.
Or you can join the ranks of people who lie to themselves so they can stay in their comfort zones, play victim and avoid the hard work of change. The consequence of living in denial is that your life never improves.
Ultimately, the only person you can fix is yourself, despite how much you might like to go around waking other people out of denial. You can only empower your own future. As I was counseled, you only have to play your side of the tennis match. Don’t jump the net and attempt to play the other side because you want to fix everything or manipulate the outcome. Just serve and let go.
Your side of the game is the only thing you can control anyway.