We are all in some kind of denial about important parts of ourselves and, sometimes, if we’re lucky, we get a wakeup call.
Ever said something like …
- I’m not late all the time.
- Just because I held back information doesn’t mean I’m deceitful.
- I’m not defensive. I am not being defensive.
- Everything doesn’t ALWAYS have to be perfect for me to be happy.
- I’m not sensitive, I just care deeply about things.
- I’m not self-absorbed, I’m an introvert.
- I have never done_____. I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Denial is a kind of protection we use within ourselves against a painful reality we hope or believe is not true about us. It’s a shield we use to block an uncomfortable reality. It’s like a secret we keep, especially from ourselves.
It’s that thing we can’t see about ourselves but everyone else can – that’s why they call it a blind spot.
“The thing about denial is that it doesn’t feel like denial when it’s going on.” Georgina Kleege
Denial can lead us to hide, defend, minimize or rationalize away something about ourselves that doesn’t fit our world view or feel acceptable to us.
Maybe it’s not a huge problem now but, over time, whatever we’re unable or unwilling to see will handicap our effectiveness and hijack our happiness.
Growing a healthier soul means we’re willing to wake up to the things we’ve been blind to about ourselves that may be hurting us or our personal or professional relationships. To do that, we have to be able to see our true self in God that is anchored and fully accepted, in His presence.
Sooner or later Life has a rude way of forcing us to see things we’ve been hiding from ourselves if we’ve been unable to hear about them from others. That’s never fun but it’s pretty dang effective.
Here are four stages of denial you might recognize (in someone else 🙂
- I don’t see a problem here.
- Ok, there might be a small problem but if you knew the whole situation you’d understand
- Yeah, there’s a problem but it’s not really hurting anyone but me
- I don’t need any help with this
Living in denial can sideline your health, your career, your marriage, your family and your friendships.
What’s something a good friend, your spouse or several co-workers have been hinting at or tell you about yourself and you just can’t see it?
How about going back to them with a willingness to listen and more openness to seeing if you can learn something new about yourself?
.James 1:22-25 (Msg) Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.