Any area of your life is fair game when it comes to denial.
Your weight, other health issues, finances, relationships, business, children, spouse… The possibilities are endless.
Each day brings something new to deny.
Denial can masquerade as the path of least resistance.
There may be an area in your life that you know needs your attention, but when you look at it you feel uncomfortable. So you just look the other way towards something more pleasant.
You think the discomfort will go away when you stop paying attention.
It’s tempting, I know. And I’m the first one to talk about focusing on what feels good, instead of what is yucky.
But here’s the thing, it’s not the issue that you’re in denial about that is painful. It’s the denial itself that delivers all that discomfort.
When you stop paying attention to the issue, the bad feelings don’t go away.
They stick around in the form of dread, embarrassment or fatigue.
You can ignore the issue, but you can’t ignore that you’re in denial about it.
Which is why I’m a total advocate of uncovering the truth and facing it.
The circumstance hasn’t changed. You’re still overweight, or in debt, or working in a dysfunctional environment. But when you allow yourself to pay attention to it and face it, you are able to create a solution that feels amazing.
And not just amazing once it’s resolved, but amazing during the whole fix-it process.
It’s easy to think that it’s the weight or the debt or the crazy boss that is making you feel so bad. But what really is making you feel bad is your fear of doing something about it. That fear is what keeps you in denial.
It may take a while to unravel the issue, but it takes no time at all to bring yourself out of denial.
How do you know?
If you’re in denial, how do you know it and how do you know what it’s about?
You get a nagging feeling when that topic is breached.
You don’t want to read or even hear about the subject.
You quickly say to yourself “that doesn’t apply to me” and focus on something else with a hurried energy.
You feel like you have a dirty little secret.
If you think about that topic, you get restless, edgy, or snippy.
You want to get up, run away and/or fight for your right to not see it as a problem.
Yes. You know.
When we’re facing something big, it’s tempting to just take a peek at first.
Lift the covers just a teensy bit and see the edge of what is out there. Then pull them back over our head with the thought “I already knew that was there” and tell yourself you’ll deal with it later.
When it comes to denial, a confrontation is truly the only way to end it.
You have an unwanted guest in your house. It won’t get the hint if you try to be nice. It has moved in, is sleeping in your bed and using your toothbrush.
The only way to make it leave is to stand up for yourself and be ok if it gets ugly.
Denial isn’t gentle with you; so don’t be gentle when you throw it out.
This is not an easy process. It will rock your world. But once you’ve experienced it, you won’t want to go back. And moving forward will be the only way.
You confront denial by acknowledging the truth out loud.
If it’s your weight, you step on that scale, log your exercise and write down everything you eat – even if it’s one bite. If it’s your finances, you research and keep track of every single dollar and all your debt. If it’s something less tangible like a relationship, you start by just saying it out loud to yourself with conviction. “This problem exists and I want to change it.”
You can’t start to deal with it until you can see it clearly.
Flush it out from its hiding place and allow it to be real. Don’t look the other way.
Confronting it head on allows you to do that.
The good news is, when you uncover an area and see the truth – really see it – the whole landscape of your life will be affected.
And I say that’s good news because when you do the work, you’re not just filling in an isolated hole in one area of your life – you’re shedding an entire layer.
Your finances may be tied to your weight, and your relationship with your spouse may parallel the relationship with your kids or with yourself. How you approach your business may be how you approach your life.
Having courage is an essential part of eliminating denial.
Once we see how diving into one area overturns everything, things get uncomfortable.
This is tough work at first. It calls for a lot of faith that you’re doing what’s best for you and that there is a way out.
But something immense happens when you completely back out of your denial state and see the picture in full light.
You want to keep moving forward.
Pulling the covers back over your eyes is no longer an option to you. When you confront it so strongly, you can’t ever go back to where you were.
You simply don’t want to.
Your momentum and creativity and vision of what things will look like will all sharpen. You will receive assistance in creating your new reality from people and resources you didn’t know existed. Circumstances will come together in just the right fashion to give you huge boosts along the way.
This all happens when you have a strong resolve to step away from your denial and allow yourself to see everything head-on.
It will not be long before you catch yourself saying “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”
Not because you’re mad you let it go on for so long, but because you’re excited about how quickly a solution is created.
That swiftness is what happens when you flip the switch from resisting what is happening to allowing it and facing it with conviction. Instead of turning your back and running away, you turn around and start running towards it as fast as your can.
The game switches from ‘chase’ to ‘chicken’.
And you are no chicken.
I’d love to hear from you!
What denial have you recently uncovered?
What was the most surprising thing about it?
Let me know in the comments below.
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