I’ve touched on the concept of Denial in several of my blog posts – most recently in my post on Delusion. But I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately that all have to do with the basic issue of denial, specifically, how do we tell the difference between thinking positively or pretending that we already have what we want and being in denial? Is there even a difference?
There is. You haven’t been lied to about denial – it’s not a good thing. It doesn’t serve you and it doesn’t help to line you up with what you want – quite the contrary. But how can you tell if you’re in denial?
The short answer
You can tell by how you feel. Denial doesn’t feel good. Lining up with the energy of what you want, does.
I’m guessing you want a little bit more of an explanation, though. So, never one to be stingy with my words, here you go:
What exactly is denial?
Let’s say that you have a crappy shitbucket of a car. You really want a new one. And so, you read a book about the Law of Attraction, which tells you to pretend that you already have a new car. Every day, as you get into the car, you tell yourself, “This is a new car. I love this car. I love my new, shiny, wonderful car.” But, as you’re doing this, you’re totally aware of the crappiness of your car, the fact that it barely runs, that you can’t rely on it, and even homeless people point and laugh at you as you drive by. So, you’re thinking “I love my car”, while all the while you’re feeling “Stupid shitbucket.”
Denial is pretending to think one thing, while you’re actually thinking another. Or more accurately:
Denial is pretending to feel good, while you’re actually feeling bad.
This is what’s happening when you’re in denial:
You have a desire for a new car.
Every time you look at your car, you become incredibly aware of how crappy it is. When you see a new car on the road, you’re reminded of the crappiness of your own car. You’re jealous and frustrated that you can’t have a beautiful car, too.
So, then you decide to “think positive thoughts”, and plaster a fake smile on your face while chanting “I love my new car! I love my new car!”, possibly through clenched teeth. Your words may be positive on paper, but your awareness of the crappiness of your car has not dissipated. You don’t feel any better. In fact, you may feel worse, since your increased, bad feeling focus will have made you even MORE aware of how much you hate your car.
It’s like you have a festering infection which is really painful, and you put a smiley face band aid on it. You then chant “It doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t hurt”, while gritting your teeth through the pain. And all the while, the infection is getting worse and worse. You haven’t cleared up the infection, you’re simply pretending it doesn’t hurt while it still totally does.
So… what are we supposed to do instead?
At this point, you may be confused. You may be asking “But Melody, you tell us that we’re supposed to pretend… You tell us to focus on what we want instead of what we don’t want. How is that NOT denial?
If you read my words carefully (and you should. I’m totally freaking wise), you’ll notice that I don’t just tell you to pretend. I tell you to pretend so that it feels good. That second part is all important.
Let’s go back to the example about the car.
You have a crappy shitbucket of a car. You really want a new one. You decide to line yourself up with the energy of a new car.
First, you acknowledge how you feel right now: You hate your crappy car. You hate that it’s unreliable, ugly, makes horrible noises, constantly needs repairs, guzzles so much gas that Saudi Arabia sends you a personal Christmas card every year, and it smells like an animal died in there. You can’t actually be sure that one didn’t.
Second, you figure out how you would feel if you already had a new car. It’s not really the new car you want, you see. You only want the new car because of how you think it will make you feel – tons better. So, how would you feel if you already had that car? Well, you’d be appreciative of your car. You’d probably give it a name, wash it often and take good care of it – not out of obligation, but because you’d enjoy it. It would be a way of celebrating the beauty of the car. You’d feel safe and secure, knowing that your car would start no matter what. You’d rejoice every time you went to the gas station, acknowledging how infrequent your trips were and how much less you’d pay to fill up the tank. You’d offer to give people rides, proud to be able to show off your gorgeous car.
In short, you’d feel
- Safe and secure
Third, you find a way to have those feelings NOW. It’s not enough to say some pretty words. You have to actually feel those feelings.
You can’t pretend to appreciate your car if you don’t.
You have to actually find something about the car to appreciate. It could be anything, even something tiny. For example, it might be a shitbucket, but the stereo works great. And you often drive down the street with the windows down and the tunes blaring. You really enjoy that. THAT’S something you can appreciate. Or perhaps, it reminds you of the party car you had in college. It’s huge and seats a football team with room for a keg. Even if you’re no longer partying, you may be able to look at your car nostalgically, remembering how much fun you had in a car like that. You can even think of how amazing this car will be for its future owner – possibly a college kid who this car will be perfect for. Think of all the awesome times that kid will have in your car.
When you look at your car in this new light, you actually feel genuine appreciation for it, or at least parts of it.
You cannot pretend to be proud of your car if you’re not.
You have to actually find a way to feel proud about some aspect of the car. Ok, so it’s not the prettiest car in the neighborhood. But it IS a car. You have a car. Many people don’t. I know this sounds kind of empty, but bear with me.
This issue comes down to judgment borne of comparison. There’s nothing wrong with comparisons – it’s part of how we create. We notice things and decide which ones we like better than others. Fair enough. But… you have to be careful about what you’re using as your basis for comparison, especially when you’re trying to deliberately feel better.
If you’re looking at your shitbucket and comparing it to the new Porsche you want, it’s going to come up wanting. But you’re comparing it to an even shittier car or possibly NO CAR at all, suddenly your crappy old car isn’t quite so bad. The key here is not to fall in fake love with your crappy car so that you don’t mind not having the Porsche (as in, be content with your disappointing life since it’s never going to change…). The key is to make peace with the car you have (stop hating it), and find a way to feel good about at least some aspect of it, so that the Universe can bring you more stuff that feels good.
When you feel proud of something, you take care of it. When was the last time you washed the shitbucket? Or waxed it? Cleaned the interior? Perhaps it’s time to get rid of the dead animal smell? It’s amazing what a bit of elbow grease and TLC can do, even for an old, crappy car. A blanket thrown over the seats covers up the cracks and stains in the upholstery. A good scrubbing can do wonders for the dashboard, the carpeting and the smell. A coat of wax can transform a rusty old heap into something quite presentable. If you’re thinking “If I had a nice car, I’d take such good care of it”, start taking care of your car now. And do it yourself. It’s amazing how much pride you feel after you spend some time fixing something up with your own two hands.
You can’t pretend to feel safe and secure if you don’t.
If your car is unreliable, how can you feel confident in its ability to start? If you currently dread turning that key every morning, convinced that the chances of your car starting are about the same as you getting “lucky” at Russian Roulette, how can you possibly start to feel more secure about the reliability of your ride?
You do it by noticing every time your car gets you from point A to point B. Right now, you’re focused almost exclusively on the car’s unreliability. You notice BIG TIME when it doesn’t start and give little attention to when it does. But you can turn that around. Do a little happy dance every time the car gets you to your destination without incident. Thank the car. Give it a little appreciative pat. Acknowledge that you arrived safely and with no issue. Do this EVERY TIME you drive somewhere. You can even tell the car how great it is. Talk to it with affection (instead of calling it every name in the book).
You can’t focus on the positive and the negative at the same time
As you deliberately focus on your car in a way that feels better, several things will happen:
- It will become easier and easier to think truly good feeling thoughts about your car. After a little while, you’ll notice that you’re feeling much better about it, even when you’re not trying.
- You’ll stop noticing as many negatives about your car. You can’t focus on the positives and negatives at the same time. You can focus on pretend positives while actually noticing the negatives – but that’s DENIAL. When you truly focus on the car in a way that feels good, you stop activating the negatives of the car and your energy around that subject shifts.
- Your shitbucket actually starts to run better. As your beliefs and vibration shift, your current car will begin to line up with that new frequency. Your car will actually break down less and run better.
- You’ll stop calling it a “shitbucket”. The name just won’t seem to apply anymore. Your newfound affection for your car will make you stop wanting to insult it all the time. You start calling it your pimpmobile, instead. Because you’re cool like that.
- As you see new cars on the road, you are no longer jealous. You appreciate them and list all the reasons why you like them. Perhaps you even tell your pimpmobile about it, as you drive down the street. You imagine that “Pimpy” rejoices right along with you.
- Through circumstances that you could never have predicted or orchestrated, your new car finds you. You find Pimpy a wonderful new home and welcome your new car into the family. Only, the new car doesn’t even really seem like a big deal anymore. You already felt the way you wanted to. The new car is simply evidence of how you already feel.
What have you been in denial about? How did you overcome it? What was the most important insight you learned from this post? Share your story in the comments!