5 Ways To Overcome Denial And Accept Reality When It’s Hard
After facing a significant setback in my life during my late twenties, I fell into depression. My personal and professional life went down the hill, and I got stuck in time. As things collapsed around me, I went into denial mode. I found excuses for why things didn’t work out the way I expected them to after putting in so much effort and hard work. I could not accept that they had worked out all this time except this one time. I did not want to believe that after so much energy, time, and money in the relationship, I had made a mistake, and we were separating. If I had to cut it now, why didn’t I do it earlier? If I have to leave the company now, why didn’t I do it earlier when people offered me better opportunities? I could not believe that all these companies can go down after so much hard work. I could not believe all that was happening in my life. I somehow wanted everything to get back to normal.
Imagine a person with both eyes closed and still putting on a blindfold. Denial makes us like that. We refuse to see and accept the reality, and it can last for weeks, years, or even a lifetime. Denial can eventually become torture and haunt a person’s progress in life. Our brain may be trying to protect us from the pain when bad news hits, and the challenge seems impossible. However, living in denial is one of the biggest hurdles to success as the truth is hidden behind a false belief. When we believe that we are right about everything we think, we refuse to accept that the things that are happening around us are accurate.
Instead of moving on with our lives, we fixate on the fantasy that everything is perfect and the reality is a lie. Sometimes, denial mode makes us resort to alcohol and drugs and keep us hiding from reality. We somehow manage to convince ourselves that something cannot happen to us. Even though denial is a natural response to a problematic situation and protects us from the shock of the incident, it can be harmful to us if used intentionally. People can live in denial for the rest of their lives; they will create a story around their situation and keep on adding to it to make it sound perfect. This story is mainly told to justify their reason for giving up on themselves. But that’s not what we should do. We should accept our reality and improve ourselves rather than trying to make a perfect story.
If we remain stuck in a self-destructive mode and refuse to accept reality, we’ll keep going through the same cycle over and over again. We may think that things will happen the way we have planned, but it may not happen that way. Understand that things happen, and we are only humans. We must face our fears. Yes, you tried your best, and it didn’t work out, but you can still try it in a completely different way.
Life happens. You have to accept the reality for what it is and accept that you are in denial.
If you find yourself believing “truths” that you alone can see, there are things you can do to let go of the fantasy and face reality.
Here are some of the things you can do:
1) Unmask your emotions and accept your anger
Denial can come with feelings of anger or disappointment, and it’s perfectly okay to have those feelings. Accepting denial doesn’t mean the negative emotions will magically disappear. Now, this doesn’t mean you should allow feelings to dictate your life. Unmask your emotions. You can go somewhere quiet and let it all out. Scream, cry, or even yell to release all of the anger bottled up inside of you; but it doesn’t mean that you should go around punching walls and yelling at everyone that crosses your path. They are not the reason for your predicament.
2) Spend time with yourself
Go inward and spend some time with your thoughts, and feel your feelings. Sit alone in silence, close your eyes, and meditate. Meditation provides breathing exercises that you can try. You can try different forms of meditation until you find the one that works best for you. Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings and then release them without judgment. Start by doing this for five minutes, and then the next day, you can increase the time spent doing it to ten minutes. I assure you that you will begin to feel better and healing will take place.
3) Write out your feelings
The process of putting the confusing words and feelings floating around inside your head into writing can be illuminating. When you write out your feelings, it will help you understand them clearly. The next time you find yourself struggling with a wave of negative emotions that keep you trapped in denial mode, stop yourself and ask; what is on my mind right now? How do I feel? Then write it down. When you start feeling better and go back later to read what you wrote during this time, you will be impressed by how much progress you have made.
4) Talk to someone you trust
It can be scary to share something personal with people. But talking to someone you trust can be a very positive experience. The last thing you want is to be judged negatively for speaking out when you feel vulnerable or guided down the wrong path. So, talk to a person who will support you on your way to accepting your denial, not a “yes man” who will “yes” you to destruction. You can talk to a therapist, mentor, coach, or a close friend. You can also build a support group of the people you trust that have your best interest at heart and reach out to them for support whenever the burden seems too much for you to bear.
5) You don’t have to forget
You are permitted to carry on with your life while still carrying your loss with you. You don’t have to forget what happened to you. The event will always remain in your heart, but you can transform it into motivation to become a much better person. It will hurt when you remember it in the early days, but you will regain control of your life and remember without bitterness with time.
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