Denial is a defense mechanism that helps us cope with aspects of ourselves we don’t want to look at because it would be too upsetting. It’s like sweeping dirt under a rug. It’s still there. We just don’t see it. In many cases, it’s not that big a deal. We can get through our lives sufficiently without facing some truths about ourselves. But in some cases Denial can be a very unhealthy approach to life. If you’re in denial about being an alcoholic or drug addict, for example. Or if you’re in denial about a growth on your body because the thought of having cancer is too frightening, so you don’t go to a doctor until it’s too late. Not a good move. It’s best that we deal with the difficulties in our lives and in ourselves sooner rather than later. It’s best if we have the courage to hold a mirror up to ourselves and look at the truth of who we are and what we’re doing to ourselves and to others that we are not consciously aware of. Oftentimes it is our friends and family who point out these unconscious truths to us. Oftentimes we don’t want to hear it. We get defensive and angry. We “shoot the messenger.” This is a mistake. We need these messengers in our lives to tell us things we are afraid to tell ourselves.
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