The Freedom of Truth - Facing Our Denial

The Freedom of Truth - Facing Our Denial - By Steve Wickham

A FEW GOOD MEN was one of 1992's best motion pictures. In the movie, the line, "You can't handle the truth!" by Col. Jessep (played by Jack Nicholson), in response to Tom Cruise's character, Lt. Kaffee's sustained probing is often quoted within my mind when I'm confronted with denial-either my own or someone else's. In the quest for more truth and reality in life, we have to at some point, face our denial. We all deny things. It's a protection and coping mechanism.
"Denial is a defense mechanism in which a person is faced with a fact that is too painful to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence." That is the first line you will read when googling "denial" and clicking on the first found search-Wikipedia. Another simple search reveals "Denial is the psychological process by which human beings protect themselves from things which threaten them by blocking knowledge of those things from their awareness."[1]
Of the types of denial, probably minimisation (an attitude of, "it's not that bad") and irresponsibility (blaming others or situations) are the most damaging and it appears that most commonplace denial (all denial other than in grieving) is caused through immature thinking; ultimately an immature mind that cannot cope adequately with conflict or reality.
Without wanting to be a hypocrite, and ironically by suggesting this I become one, I'm constantly disappointed to find Christian people living in unreality, and in a sense of denial-you can see it as soon as you meet them. Many have problems they refuse to acknowledge, let alone do anything about. For some, these problems are killing them! Many Christian people are not living, and have not lived, the authentic Christian lifestyle that's on offer-the "full life" of salvation that Jesus preached in John 10:10. Spiritual people of any religion should be able to live in the truth of reality, rejecting to a large extent their denial, because truth is a spiritual ideal. Another frustration is people who evangelise, yet by virtue of their lifestyles and relationships, they live in patent denial. They do the Gospel so much harm because those being preached to can see all through it. It's false and abhorrent.
In the search for truth, there is no place for rampant denial. Spiritual and emotional growth comes only when there is an acceptance of who we are, and the problems we face. Only then can we set about correcting personal and lifestyle problems.
Living in truth means living more boldly, which whilst requiring much faith and courage to execute, provides a new sense of freedom. What is there to lose? Well, it might be humiliating. This is true-there's no gain without a little pain. If you have problems and are denying them, others will know already anyway, and in a sense that is even more humiliating! The wise choice is to tackle your issue(s) head on. You will gain respect from others and self-respect will be yours too.
Perhaps the best way to close this subject is by way of the words of Anna Freud in response to a query on what the essential personal qualities of a psychoanalyst should be:
"The answer is comparatively simple. If you want to be a real psychoanalyst you have to have a great love of the truth, scientific truth as well as personal truth, and you have to place this appreciation of truth higher than any discomfort at meeting unpleasant facts, whether they belong to the world outside or to your own inner person."
I would expand this requirement to anyone who wants real life. You get little in life if you invest little. Make truth a more important commodity that your own comfort. Face your denial. Coping with reality costs in the short term; the cost is courage (which you have). In the longer term there are such rich rewards as you no longer succumb to fear as much and are freer to love, particularly yourself.
© Steve J. Wickham, 2008. All rights reserved Worldwide. [1] Community Alcohol Information Program (CAIP) on "Denial." Internet link no longer valid. Steve Wickham is a safety and health professional (BSc) and a qualified lay Christian minister (GradDipDiv). He is also has training and leadership Diplomas. His passion in vocation is facilitation and coaching; encouraging people to soar to a higher value of their potential. Steve's interest in psychology is matched by years of experience in the psychology of safety in workplaces. Steve's key passion is work / life balance and re-creating value for living, and an exploration of the person within us. An advocate for a fair and just life, Steve implements wisdom strategies to his life through a passion for Proverbial wisdom. His highest goal is doing God's will, in enhancing his life, and the lives of others. Article Source: Article Source:

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