Denial

For sure, it’s one of the oldest and often practiced ego defense mechanisms. Denial is synonymous with refusal – that is, refusal to square our beliefs with truths we won’t accept. “He was so lucky to get that job, I’d be a far better choice.” (But he got it, didn’t he?) “She only won because of low voter turnout.” (But she won, and how do we control voter turnout anyway?)

Denial is about more than just refusal though, it’s also a cornerstone of hardheadedness demonstrated through an inability to tolerate and accept alternative or dissenting points of view. And it’s about self-preservation, but only for a little while, because ignoring reality and its attendant truths always win out eventually.

It seems to me, at least, that we can’t just sticks our heads in the sand and remain captive to our own minds. Instead, we have to talk and listen to people who don’t agree with us if we’re going to grow beyond our self-limiting beliefs. We can do this with no mandate whatsoever to accept what we see or hear, while recognizing that allowing ourselves to be vulnerable to something we would ordinarily eschew or find unpleasant, is really a display of strength and a sign of healthy self-esteem.

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