Gaining Strength by Facing Up to What Is
Too many of us are using enormous amounts of energy protecting ourselves from the truth. It seems “easier” in the short term to live with half-truths or even self-created fantasies designed to protect us from unpleasant feelings. But in the long run, it simply doesn’t work.
Sooner or later reality catches up with us and we have to deal with it anyway. The longer it takes the more costly it is. The good news is that dealing with the truth makes us stronger.
In our private coaching practice we help people with all phases of partnership, from creation to completion. As we look back at the thousands of couples we have helped navigate the turbulent emotional waters of divorce, there is one glaring similarity in 90% of the cases. If they had talked openly, honestly and responsibly about their problems when they first began, they wouldn’t be getting a divorce.
How much better off would they be if they had chosen to deal with their problems head-on rather than avoiding the feelings of temporary discomfort that can come from difficult conversations. It cost them more in the long run to avoid confronting the truth than to deal with it. Sobering but true.
The question is – how often do you avoid dealing with the truth because you are afraid it will be uncomfortable? Do you find yourself avoiding difficult conversations because you think that by waiting the problem will somehow disappear?
Is it better to avoid looking at the fact that you are losing money doing the business you love? Or is it more prudent to run appropriate financial projections so you can avert disaster down the road?
Is it better to be honest with yourself that certain life-style choices are costing you your health, or just wait for the suffering and the medical bills to show up?
Is it easier to keep struggling with your bills every month, or to look at the part of you that seems determined to live beyond your means?
Is it better to keep struggling with a relationship, that when you look at it, hasn’t been fulfilling since the first few months you were together, and that was 12 years ago?! Or is it wiser to take a deep breath and a long look at why it’s so easy for you to settle for less than you want?
Is it better to walk on eggshells with the people you care most about because you’re afraid to hear what you already know to be true? Or is it less stressful to simply deal with it? Initiate a heart-to-heart talk and make choices based on the reality of the situation rather than what you wished was true.
Is it worth the risk to tell the emperor he has no clothes, or wait for him to find out some other way, then have him feel hurt or betrayed because you didn’t have the guts to simply tell him?
From time to time it is important to take stock of what we are trying to avoid. The pure and simple truth is that denial, personal or group denial, is very costly. It costs us our self-respect and our personal power. Denial drains our energy like water through a sieve. It also costs us time. We waste so much of our life when we bury our head in the proverbial sand.
Sometimes, when we come out of denial, we feel regret for all the lost moments. Like when a solution presented itself and we didn’t notice because we were too busy fooling ourselves that we “didn’t have a problem”. Some people lose their whole life doing that.
One of the most difficult things for human beings is to perceive “what is”. Reality is often obscured by our own beliefs, biases, fears, prejudices and limitations.
To be enlightened is to be awake. Awake enough to discern the false from the true, especially within our own psyche. Most of us need to develop our capacity to observe ourselves without self-invalidation so we can begin to see the deeper reasons for the choices we make and the actions we take.
So, what is there for you to do? Begin a rigorous exploration of your own heart and mind. Go into the deep stillness of your meditation and ask, “What am avoiding?” or “What am I in denial about?” Then wait for the answer. You may have to ask it more than once. The next step is to ask, “What can I do to deal with it more appropriately?” Write your answers down and keep them in a place where you can see them frequently throughout the day. Then take one step at a time.
You’ll notice that as you start taking the steps you’ll begin to feel stronger, your mind will feel more focused, you’ll have more energy. Even though you may decide to do some things that are temporarily uncomfortable, sooner than later, you’ll feel the strength that comes from integrity. The integrity to be true to yourself by looking at what is really going on in your life.
You’ll feel more alive, more alert, more at peace. You’ll find yourself in a rarified sphere of being AWAKE. The air is sweeter here than any you have ever breathed and you’ll feel that whatever it took you to get here, was worth it.