Doubt and denial are two of the most damaging mindsets that exist. While doubt narrows our thinking from believing in the real array of possibility, denial leaves us in the disbelief of any or all of them. Doubt is the truth we refuse to let ourselves see, yet denial keeps us shielded from even trying to see it at all. It’s somewhat of a catch-22 – one can exist without the other, but both are cut of the same cloth. And no matter who the person or what the circumstance may be that leaves us feeling one or both, they only allow for the same limited view that sets us up for failure. While one or both are present, we are hindered while they’re there.
At different times, doubt manages to thrive inside of all of us somewhere, regardless of its immensity while present. And the amount of the doubt we carry inside of us varies in degree by person. These variances that each of us feels are not limited by size or to specific conditions. No one circumstance or person decides if we will hold doubt. But depending on who we are when the time comes for it to exist, will determine the length of its stay.
Life likes to throw at us those major shifts that cause for an adjustment of self. These moments tend to occur most often after we have already seemed to settle anew from a time of reconstruction. Once we are confident that we can continue on and move past it, doubt creeps in to make us question ourselves one hundred times over – even after having done so one hundred times over before.
Doubt lives where fear manifests. Like the moss that grows on the forest floor, we may not notice it without looking directly at it, but once we see it, it becomes a huge part of the entire view. Unless we are familiar with this tight, relentless grip, doubt is an obstacle we may fail to recognize for being exactly that. It’s a dangerous place to be, isn’t it? We can doubt that anything bad is possible and we can doubt that anything good is deserved. Somewhere inside of us we hold steadfast to the hope that anything we have or anyone in our lives would never cause us harm, break our hearts, or break us down. At the same time, doubt can convert every single thing that’s good into exactly what it’s not. Doubt is the biggest liar we’ll ever know.
Once a little bit of the outside creeps in and gets in under the skin, our world we’ve been living in takes on an entirely new form. It happens in one of two ways: It gets smaller and it gets tougher or it gets better and brighter. But either way, existing as we did is no longer a part of existing how we do.
Once doubt suffers even the smallest blow of realization, it then begins to be chipped away. This safe place that it’s kept us in begins to disappear. Realization keeps taking more and more until what we once saw is unrecognizable, doubt’s just not the same for us anymore. We may try and try to go back there, to that point where we felt safe, but it never happens. Once the doubt that held us so tightly loses its vantage point it kept us in, we slip and slide faster and farther away from that place where we wanted to stay, to that place we came to know. Doubt only shows us those parts we see when our eyes are shut. It keeps us in a content slumber. It keeps us dangling on one plane until we begin to teeter, until we fall from it.
Denial is a monster that blocks our site with blinders. Denial is tricky. She usually stays with us a little longer than doubt. She makes us refuse to see any truth other than what we’ve come to know. She refuses for us to see any other way that reality can actually be.
Denial tends to stick around longer than expected, though her arrival is never really quite announced. She’s unpredictable and unknowable while she tells us all those things we want to hear and we think we need to hear. Denial keeps us nicely kept, all tucked in securely with her blanket of ignorance. She’s a bit dressed-up and tantalizing so that we may never even think of letting her go. And it’s here while we dance with her that the truth could be obviously displayed but we’d still somehow see right through it. She likes her ability to spin us immediately into a 180 degree turn, and she’ll stay without showing any trace of her not belonging here.
During her intrusion, she in turn causes us to stay in one place and she keeps her falsehood of dreams alive. Denial tends to keep us motivated and on track, right or wrong. While we fall farther into her fallacy of make-believe, she guides us with ease, even through all of the unfamiliar territory we step into, even when leaving her would bring a change – she knows we are used to her embrace.
Yet, no matter how long she remains there, holding us captive in her stance, it’s when she starts fading that we are the most miserable for having kept her. Letting go of the what she gave us is sometimes the hardest part. Letting go of where we were once familiar is never easy. And whether she fades slowly or falls away all at once, sometimes we’d do anything to get her back. We’d give almost anything to let her spin us one more time.
Letting Them Go
Both doubt and denial are hard on us. They beat us up while we let them go because we fight to keep them there. We all want to believe we’re right, good or bad. In the beginning we are resistant. In the beginning we don’t want to believe that we were wrong. But it isn’t until we move into the acceptance of what’s true that we can adjust to what really is. And over time we learn that accepting anything or anyone ‘as is,’ is still easier than living in ‘what if.’
The truth is the truth no matter how much we want to tell ourselves otherwise, no matter how often we tell ourselves it’s not. And the truth is, once reality settles in where it was always supposed to be, it’s harder to try to go back to living with either doubt or denial again. Once we see reality, we can never tell ourselves with the same authority that anything or anyone is what it isn’t or who they aren’t. Once we stop believing the lies that doubt or denial give to us, we can be exactly who we are, we can be exactly who we need to be, and we are free.