“Denial is not just a river in egypt.” ~ Mark Twain
Okay, now that I have that kitschy quote out of the way lets get the 411 about denial:
Denial it is a defense mechanism that is close cousins with repression. It keeps one safe and unaware of what is actually going on in our life. The wonderful thing about denial is that it helps you continue to show up to your life, even when your life is in need of change. Denial allows for an adjustment period when a something happens, without having a freak out. By being wrapped in the coziness of denial, it allows one to ignore issues that they have, ie. past traumas, the reality that a relationship is falling apart or that one has health problems. Allowing you to live in a alternate reality where there is nothing wrong.
But denial also has a darkside, It is not a means to an end. There is nothing sustainable about being in denial because eventually you will have to face what you are avoiding wether you want to our not.
The danger of living in denial is it keeps you stuck in a perpetual state of repressing your emotions, it keeps you numb and unaware. It does not allow you to be authentic and genuine, which makes it more difficult to connect with others around you. It keeps you closed off from the reality of the world. Denial never allows you to be vulnerable, human or seen for who you actually are.
Denial makes you abandon yourself, by not allowing you to connect to your genuine self. Denial causes more anxiety and depression in those that practice it. It’s close friend is perfectionism, which is like a stick in the mud. Perfectionism and denial keep success and happiness as perpetual carrot on a stick. Leaving you forever feeling that you are not good enough.
So you maybe saying, “Okay I get it, denial is not my friend. But what do I do instead?”
Ways to stop living in denial:
- Examine and write down your fears
- Think about the negative consequences of not taking an action
- Allow yourself to feel your feelings and acknowledge them
- Journal about your feelings and fears
- Open up to a trusted friend or a family member
- See a Mental health care professional
- Participate in a support or 12 step group
Please let me know what your experience is with denial. Or if I can help you with exploring this topic more. Please comment below!