In addition to our very human tendencies to belittle our own abilities and dismiss those of others’ we sometimes dismiss our problems by completely denying the events that are actually happening in our lives.
Pretending it’s not happening
The phenomenon of dismissing a problem is nothing new, and we see companies do it all the time. You know, around oil spills and other environmental catastrophies, toys with small parts coming off, baby milk formula sourced unethically, etc. In most cases it’s blindingly obvious either straight away or immediately afterwards what they were trying to do: hide and deny the problem, hoping it would go away. And what happens? It just blows up even worse when it all finally comes out. And it always does, doesn’t it?
Curious how we as individuals condemn those companies and yet we do this in our own lives. We go to great lengths in order to not think about a problem or a potential problem, hoping it would go away so that we wouldn’t have to deal with it:
“What do you mean what’s going on, nothing’s going on.” “Nothing’s wrong, you’ve got the wrong end of the stick.” “Everything’s fine.”
Being Scarlett O’Hara
Yes, sometimes we need a break from the daily grind, financial worries, work stress, relationship problems, our health issues, you name it! Sometimes taking the “Tomorrow is another day” route is perfectly acceptable, even wise. It allows us to use our energies wisely and keep our lives in balance.
And sometimes it makes things much worse. I have always been a believer in people, and so even in my most destructive ex-relationship I would keep on believing that I had chosen to be with a person capable of loving and respecting me as I am. Refusing to see that he actually wanted to mold me into some agreeable, dependent little creature who would do whatever he says, even defending him to friends and family who saw what was going on very early on. Until it all blew up – as it always does at some point – and I finally faced the music and left him for good.
Being yourself to the fullest
Moving away from the habit of avoiding difficult or uncomfortable thoughts and situations can be very challenging but it is also very satisfying! It means so much less time, headspace and energy spent on dodging subjects, avoiding conversations or people altogether, hiding from the world, and most critically, hiding from yourself. Hiding from life.
One way to prevent most situations from escalating into big and complicated problems is facing them straight on. My own journey has taught me to look trouble in the eye as early on as humanly possible, daring to put uncomfortable issues on the table as and when they arise, work out what my options are and make appropriate decisions up front. Decisions based on the kind of life I want to live and the kind of person I choose to be.
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“Words create worlds” is something I heard a lot during my coach training from one of the trainers. This is Part 3 of a series of posts it inspired me to write. Check out Part 1: Talking yourself down and Part 2: DIsmissing other people.