DENIAL VS POSITIVITY:
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
Denial Can Be A Survival Instinct
While it may seem obvious, denial is actually a pretty subtle and often hidden aspect of our subconscious.
Denial is sometimes a force all its own and often asserts itself in response to trauma and grief; among other things.
For example, if something traumatic happens, we might find ourselves in denial to put some necessary distance between us and the horrific event.
This gives us some time and space to adapt and begin to accept the situation as it is.
A short period of denial can be useful, even necessary as a survival instinct.
We’ve all been there and if we haven’t, unfortunately we will.
This kind of denial is actually healthy in some circumstances.
There is also the negative kind of denial.
Negative denial is when we hear ourselves saying, “everything is fine, this problem does not exist, and I refuse to think about it. I am just going to be happy”.
This kind of attitude actually creates stress and anxiety because underneath that denial, we know the problem is still there.
When we cover up our problems with denial, there is an inner voice that begins trying to get our attention.
One of things that might tip us off that it's denial is when we start feeling some negativity or sarcasm around positive events or conversations.
We might even find ourselves feeling a little bit confused as to why we are getting such a bad reaction to information that is supposed to boost joyfulness and positivity!
What happens when we tell ourselves that we want to see the glass half full instead of half empty?
In some situations it can boost our enthusiasm and make us feel good.
While at other times, it may make us feel unsure of ourselves, or even bad.
The reason we might feel bad when we try to see the glass half full is that maybe there is some denial standing between us and positivity.
Denial is mainly a failure to acknowledge the problem that is causing those negative emotions.
This is where the stress and anxiety can really begin to make our moods swing like crazy!
Something else to consider is that the vast majority of problems can be solved if we take the time to work through them.
I get that there isn’t always time to immediately deal with every problem that comes up.
But it only takes a minute to write the problem down on a list with the intention of dealing with it.
Schedule some problem solving time every day.
Even if it’s only 5 minutes to scribble down some potential solutions!
In this way, we are neutralizing denial and giving ourselves a sense of empowerment.
We can't always avoid certain problems that don't have a solution.
This can come in the form of death, divorce, bankruptcy or other amputations of a certain lifestyle.
It is then necessary to take that positive step of being willing to adapt to the circumstance that cannot be changed.
Taking some simple action steps will begin to generate self confidence.
They allow us to make a plan and follow through to a solution!
This is what gives a positive mindset its immense power!
With a positive mindset, even traumatic events have a lot less of an impact on us.
This is because the very first step in developing and maintaining a positive mindset is to acknowledge the bad thing.
Whether it’s a negative emotion, bad event or a problem that we are facing.
Whatever it is, denial will never lead to the solution!
One way to practice having a positive mindset is to begin with the intention to always do the following:
- Acknowledge the problem as it is.
- Brainstorm potential solutions.
- Be generous with your ideas and just write whatever comes to mind.
- Decide which solutions you will try.
- Create a step by step plan to reach that solution.
- Follow through to the outcome you are looking for.
This is a positive mindset practice.
The reason being that we are beginning with the intention of solving any problems that come our way. This is done without pushing them aside or ignoring them.
Here is another exercise that can really help me get the bulk of unsolvable problems off the table.
It can help to clear my mind and bring some positivity back into perspective.
- Use a sheet of lined paper
- Fold it vertically in half and make a nice, sharp crease.
- Use the left side to list all of the problems you know you can solve.
- Use the right side to list all of the problems you know you cannot change.
- Carefully tear or cut the right side of the paper all the way off.
- Read the torn off list one last time.
- Tear that side up into teeny tiny pieces and make a big production out of it.
- Flush it down the toilet, burn it or just throw it in the trash.
- Read the positive list again, slowly, imagining how you will feel when you have solved these problems.
Don’t be fooled!
This may look a bit like denial when we toss the negative side away, but think about it.
We have identified the parts of the problem that we have no control over and made the decision to adapt ourselves to them.
This is not denial.
It is fully acknowledging the problem and taking action to solve it in the best way possible for us, right now.
POSITIVE MINDSET IS NOT A ‘SET IT AND FORGET IT’ SORT OF ATTITUDE.
It requires you to keep track of how you handle emotions and circumstances, and correct the course when it starts going off the tracks.
Whether we are looking to:
- Lose some weight
- Develop a fitness regimen
- Change jobs or career
- Repair relationships
Ditching denial and embracing positivity will add power and confidence to our self image.
It is healthy to feel empowered and joyful.
Having a sense of control, in even the worst of situations is wonderful.
We can use a Positive Mindset without denial to empower ourselves in any situation.
It can even be powerful when we don’t know what the problem is yet… before it actually happens!
A positive mindset is simply acknowledging the negative situation with the confidence of knowing that we can deal with it.
It is following up on that confidence by taking the steps of brainstorming possible solutions, choosing the viable options, taking the steps to carry out the solution, and continuing through to a predetermined end result.
I hope the information here will come in handy the next time you find yourself feeling negative about positivity!
Please feel free to share your own tips or experiences with negative denial and positive mindset in the comments section.
It is always helpful to see how others may be having similar feelings, and get tips on how to minimize the impact!