A dated joke in the addictions field is that “denial” is a river in Egypt (de Nile). A more contemporary description of D-E-N-I-A-L as standing for “Don’t Even know I Am Lying.
When we discount things we hear more than once, from more than one person, and on repeated occasions, we might want to consider what they are saying. Some of our habits and patterns of behavior my be different from reality.
Buddhism often talks about “delusion” which is a much better term than denial. Our delusions are a result of long term ways we view our life. We don’t seek to delude or fool ourselves. However, sometimes we do not “pay attention to our intention with awareness of awareness. We fool ourselves that we can create the “reality” of our lives, instead of just living it “in the now”.
Some of the traditional ways that we maintain denial and delusion are:
Rationalizations – Reasons we give to justify unhealthy or mindless behavior.
Minimizations – Discounting the dimensions and impact of a problem.
Othering – Comparing my problems to others to discount addressing my own issues.
Procrastination – Putting off, distracting from addressing the problem and issues.
“The essence of bravery is being without self-deception.” - Pema Chodron, The Places that Scare You
Practicing to not delude yourself, with eyes and heart open, invites being open to self-discovery. Awareness leads to being present in each moment, living life more fully, while embracing personal freedom.
Photo courtsey of Ian Burt