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Challenge your Mindset

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How to face up to feelings of denial


Denial is probably the strongest defense mechanism in the modern-day human. Basic survival instincts aren’t the same as they used to be, but denial is something we all engage in for a bit of self-preservation. By pretending that bad things don’t happen, or that situations we are involved in are less than idea, we can maintain a good stead. Facing denial isn’t easy – in fact you might have to take a hit to your wellbeing mentally and emotionally before you can build yourself up again. However, if you don’t allow yourself to face up the painful truths, you will never know the true healing and happiness you can access. Here’s how to face up to feelings of denial.

Like ripping off a plaster

The process needs to start bluntly. You need to expose your vulnerability – admit what is wrong to yourself and others – in order for the denial to fully seep out. Like ripping off a plaster on a bad wound, you might feel a sting. Certain people will have opinions and try to get involved, for better or for worse. Eventually, the wound will heal. Just like some wounds scar, you might never forget the issues that affected you, but it’s better to accept and recognise them than hide them under a bandage of denial, pretending they don’t exist when they do. The pain they can cause you in the long term can affect the rest of your life greatly, as opposed to the temporary pain of facing them upfront (links to counselling services)

Let yourself grieve

Denial is part of a larger process, the grieving process (5 stages of grief article). Grief isn’t just reserved for bereavement, but for any part of your life that has come to end or isn’t the same. We often deny things have happen when they have caused great change which we haven’t accepted yet. In this instance, you need to give yourself time, but admit that you’re grieving. Accept the impermanence of life and the passage of time, and you’ll find that your stage of denial will end and the stage of acceptance will commence.

Keep active

Working out the emotions of denial in a different way can help stop denial from impeding you. By channelling your anger or upset that’s causing you to be in denial into something else, you’ll find yourself at peace a lot quicker. By achieving something or completing a project, you will feel accomplished and recognise that the issues you don’t want to confront haven’t actually held you back or stopped you living your life. By carrying on, you learn to stop denying the past.

Forgiving your mistakes

This is the hardest step to stopping denial. We often enter denial because we feel guilt. We cannot deal with being the person to blame or for having responsibility in something less than favourable. It’s time to recognise that you may have the ability and power to get things  wrong, but you have an equal and opposite ability and power to put things right, even if not by an equal and opposite method. By forgiving yourself and accepting that you are human, you will fully overcome your feelings of denial.

Being in denial creates a false sense of security. While it can temporarily help you come to terms with certain issues, you cannot stay in denial forever. You will, deep down, always know the truth and it will continue to affect you unless you face up to it. By battling these demons head on, you might not be able to make things as they were, but you will be able to move on and live happily.


This article was contributed by Pink Moods.

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