Denial is Delay

Living in denial only makes finding the truth that much harder.” Jules F.

We all live in denial to some extent. We might make excuses for other’s behavior or refuse to see what’s plain for everyone else to see. In many ways, denial is our ego’s protective mechanism – designed to keep us from being hurt. The problem, though, is that denial only delays what’s necessary for us to move forward. Perhaps we wonder why our partner or even ex won’t engage with the children – we badger them and ask them how they can be so distant. Or we can’t believe that our friend has a problem with drugs or is doing something we don’t really like. It doesn’t occur to us that we probably have some vision in our head that isn’t matching reality. We ask for some proof that they match our personal vision and refuse to see the facts as they are. Most of the time it’s because we’re somehow vested in that vision and end up frozen by inaction. We torture ourselves and refuse to accept the simple facts just as they are – we get tied up thinking that if we look at what our gut might really know, that it says something about us. That we were stupid to trust or wrong for our choice in a friend or partner. So, instead, we hide from the truth. We delay. We don’t make decisions. And sometimes that denial can cost us – whether it’s time, mental or physical health or our own self-esteem. Living in denial also creates unhealthy patterns. We engage in conversations that don’t help us or perpetuate habits that keep us stuck. And then we wonder why nothing ever changes. We keep saying things “should” be different. . . It’s only when we decide to look at the truth that we can finally find peace. We make choices that allow us to separate out fact from fiction and find the truth.

Weekly Path to Peace: Live in truth.  

  • Are you living in denial? Do you keep trying at a relationship, but not getting the results you’ve hoped for? Do you hide or numb so you don’t have to feel? What are the ways that denial is delaying your ability to make a decision or live your life? Spend 15 minutes journaling each day about how you’re living in denial and the way it might be impacting your life.
  • Separate the facts from the fiction in your head. Facts are objective: the sun is yellow, I have two children or I am married. The fiction is all the unresolved emotions we have around the facts: my husband should spend more time with the kids, I’m a judgmental loser. Once we separate the facts from the fiction, it’s easier to discover the truth so we no longer have to delay the important things in life.

As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change.