Sometimes denial is a good thing!
Yes, I deploy this as needed ...
(Which is a better strategy than my old one which was to live in denial ALL the time! About EVERYTHING!)
So, I call this technique Strategic Denial.
What are the rules of engagement for this plan?
1. Decide what is real and what is not real.
Sometimes this is obvious such as when we lose a job, a home or a loved one.
In other words, there is no denying reality and it just plain sucks!
2. Once we have decided that we are not demonizing and making up stories about thing being worse than they really are ...
That it REALLY does just plain suck ... and we are in a storm ...
Don't let it become a runaway train in your head!
Grab the reins and get a grip on the situation.
Is the runaway train moving forward? OK. How so?
Has it actually left the station?
Or is it still there, but about to leave?
Or maybe it just started slowly pulling forward down the track, but it is manageable because there is no momentum.
But ... you see it as full steam ahead racing at top speeds!
And this is what is causing you the anxiety.
But regardless of the truth of where the train is ...
You can stop the train in your head.
Or you can put the movie on slow motion!
Become the master digital editor in your own movie!
This is where the strategic denial begins ... telling yourself it is something other than what it really is.
Yes, sometimes we need to go to Disney World and pretend "it's a small world" afterall.
Go to that happy place!
WHATEVER works to serve you better is the name of the game when life becomes a shit show.
So here is a plan;
1. Place a label on that train. Storms in life are always TEMPORARY.
It is ALWAYS a fluid situation, and that is the good news.
Even if the direction of the flow isn't where we would like it to go at this moment.
At least we can cling to the certainty that "things never remain the same."
ALL storms have a shelf life! This is actually truth.
So, it is not like it is a stretch of the imagination to BELIEVE in that "fairy tale."
So why don't we just pick up the reins and decide NOW where this train is in our story that will seve us better?
Why not see the train as having already arrived at its final Mickey Mouse distination ...
And after a fun adventure there, it is about to turn around for the ride back home?
Staying focused on the good ending of the story!
2. So, create the new story to focus on while we are going through the storm.
(Trust me, we ALL excell at creating unbelievable stories that aren't even AT ALL true! LOL!)
Usually in a negative way ... But the point being ...
We ALL excell at this skill! So, refocus and repurpose that skill!
So what is the new story?
We want a destination that is calming, fun or inspiring that we have decided ahead of time is going to be our NEW future reality.
This is the tool the ballerina uses when she focuses on a spot on the wall so she won't get dizzy spinning around.
For example, (caution; this may trigger you ... )
Take the current world events ...
Appears to be a little messy and confusing right now, right?
And maybe the "fog of war" is a little thick right now ...
So lots of uncertainty inside of us, right?
But what if we changed our perceptions and beliefs ...
And decided to believe that there were forces we were unaware of that are working hard behind the scenes to right the ship?
Be it real, sane human beings or be it God?
What might the outcome of all those GOOD forces be?
And while we guessing ... and daydreaming ...
(Even if we don't REALLY believe our new "delusions") ...
Why not just decide ahead of time what outcome WE WANT TO HAVE?
What would be our idea of a happy ending?
NOW, we can stay focused on that!
We can visualize and tell ourselves THAT story over and over rather than ...
The one about how everything is going to fall apart!
After all, NO ONE owns a time machine that accurately predicts the future ..
So no one ever knows the real outcome of anything in the future.
Your guess is as good as the next person.
But here's the shiny object in all this ...
Which person FEELS better and is better able to EFFECTIVELY function on a daily basis?
See how strategic denial works? In a good way?
Truth is, other people psyche us out, and it is up to us to NOT give our power away to those people.
And we can also pysche ourselves out!
So, again, it is up to us to not give our power away to that part of our minds that can act like a runaway train!
Rein it in!
Remember, CHOOSING to become fearful and unable to function properly in life is OUR choice!
As is the opposite our choice; becoming empowered!
"But I have no control over all this that is going on." (I hear this daily.)
Yes, and that is the good news. Why?
You can now, officially, let go of the responsibiity of THAT burden.
HOWEVER, you're not completely off the hook.
You still do have responsibilities ...
To yourself, your mental state, your physical health ...
And to that of your family and/or friends.
Even your horse.
And yes, your country. (I know you would prioritize that differently! LOL)
Putting your head in the sand is NOT productive; albeit it IS a shield.
But this is not riding horses ... where we just slap on a helmet and vest.
Oh good, now we feel better.
When it comes to real "life sucks" ...
Avoidance is not always the most effective "feel good" answer.
There IS a train or storm to contend with.
Want to REALLY transform those uncomfortable feelings of uncertainty inside?
We will feel less fearful and anxious if we not only avoid the news ...
But we can actually feel GOOD and EMPOWERED by embracing the news!
And deciding how WE can fulfill our basic human needs for empowerment (significance), problem solving, and contribution!
Because we are either contributing in a negative way to the problem, by ignoring the problem or freaking out about it.
(And spreading THAT toxic virus around to everyone.)
Or we are contributing in a positive way by helping to solve the problems!
Maybe it is at the school board level to fight that battle ...
Or maybe it is just helping other people who are struggling with all this.
Like the nurses who are concerned about losing their jobs!
Or your neighbors!
So to help yourself, your family/friends and your country ...
(Let's not forget helping the horse who doesn't want a distracted and anxious pilot on its back.)
Stop your spinning, or fear and anxiety ...
And pick up the reins of your life and DECIDE what you CAN do.
1. Hold the line. (This is an action step as any rider knows that engages in "steadying" down the line!)
Stay where you are and keep your head down and just keep on keeping on.
Don't get distracted. Stay focused on moving forward towards the goal.
Straight and forward.
2. Tighten the line.
Tighten up your schedule and daily rituals. This is what helps to keep us centered.
It gives us certainty.
This is like "collecting" the energy of the canter down the line!
Collection gives us spring! The ability to adjust. The power to hop over the obstacle!
(Ever try to jump a horse over a fence when he is "all strung out?")
What rituals help to make you feel calm or productive or empowered?
What rituals FEED your cells and your soul deep down inside?
3. Use your talents and skills (or even just your love and compassion) to help others.
Yes, figuring out and doing OUR small part in the grand scheme of things will help us to feel less empowered!
Less like a victim!
4. Make a decision and change your rules.
Making a plan and working the plan are two different things.
What is the plan?
"I am doing my part to help my fellow man and my country."
What is working the plan?
Get involved in the "fight" to help turn things around in your world and your small community!
Maybe it is just to remain calm and reassuring as you REACH OUT TO OTHERS.
Maybe it is to REACH OUT and give hugs and love?
Maybe it is to start a prayer group!
Yes, of course EVERY SEED planted will help!
If nothing else, being there for each other and showing others that if we stay focused on the joy of the outcome ...
(Formally called "stragic denial.)
And participate in solutions where we can ...
The outcome we are staying focused on will become a reality.
Faith. Prayers. Helping others.
It is a simple formula that works ... if you work it.
Make a plan, work the plan and stay consistent with exercise and eating healthy.
It will all help to keep you centered and feeling in control of your world.
Embrace the suck! Be your own hero and one to others as well!
We are all warriors that are in the battle of an important mission ...
We all have an important role to play.
And it is always darkest before the dawn.
Motion creates emotion, so COVER AND MOVE ... as they say in the military!
Find your purpose and role in this mission and contribute to the cause.
Keep moving, keep praying, and we Will keep winning!
It is a fluid situation that WILL conclude with a positive outcome.
Breakthrough Mental Skills Coach
Emotional Strength & Resiliency Trainer