Thursday, September 22

Emotional Health: Overcoming the Demon of Denial, Knowing Serenity 9/22/11

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget
that the highest appreciation is not to utter words,
but to live by them.”   John F. Kennedy 
My Gratitudes for Thursday:

   This afternoon, I met someone I mentor before attending a business meeting in the Marin County town of Corte Madera.  This person danced around issues needed addressing.

Being Unaware and Being In Denial, Two Different Things

    When he got defensive, I held my ground; prompting a discussion about the difference between being unaware and denial. There is a difference. When a person is unaware of an issue that's brought up, the response often is, "Gosh, do I do that?  Man, can you help me deal with this, do you have any ideas?"

     Denial is different. When one is in it, he becomes strongly defensive, perhaps agitated, possibly argumentative---justifying his perspective or behavior. Such responses indicate that the demon of denial has appeared.
When relating with others, and this monster lurks, frustrating myself has no appeal. There's no point in arguing with a person when they are drunk. When we're in denial we are emotionally intoxicated, beyond reasoning, we're no different than a person that has had one too many swigs at a bottle.

      Besides, when there's a difference of opinion, I don't care to argue; I share my position and leave it at that. It's not my role to convince others. Other than when confronting another person who is denial, they may be right.  I find heated discussions unproductive; they're only good for escalating tension and create ill-will. Who delights in that?

     It was interesting noting this man's overt denial as we spoke about this very subject. It's not my job nor desire to change anyone. There is only one God and I'm not Him.

      I did warn him I will not avoid reminding him of this demon of denial that lives in the living room of his heart.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend but the kisses of the enemy are deceitful. The full soul loathes the honeycomb, but to the hungry soul [the one that doesn't have discernment or recovery] every bitter thing is sweet.   Proverbs 27:6-7
This person's reaction allowed me to know I have better uses of my time than pursuing the subject of denial regarding his relationship with a predatory woman.

1.    I'm thankful for sanity I enjoy by not pursuing fruitless discussions.  I have better ways of investing my time that offer a better return.

      This same person wanted to analyze his actions as we inventoried areas needing growth. I stopped that. We need a different consciousness than the one that created them. Analysis doesn't change anything. Action does. Taking steps, albeit tiny ones, leads to substantial growth. Flowers, oak trees, human physical growth are all incremental; but they provide big results over time.

2.   I'm grateful for the progress that occurs when we stay in the solution, looking at healthy alternatives to the problems that confront us. For more about this with specific ideas about doing so, please click here.

Encountering a Hollywood Celebrity
      While mentoring this person at a quaint but unfriendly cafe in Corte Madera (the waitress's smile dropped when the person I was with only ordered tea----a Cobb salad was had by the innkeeper), there was a smallish guy at the counter, wearing white shorts and a grayish blue t-shirt, with his back to us. The person I was with and I were window dressing for this restaurant, our table was tucked into the bay window that fronted the sidewalk.

      The guy at the counter rose, paid his tab, facing me as he walked towards the door. His unshaven face gave a sheepish smile as his blue eyes met my darker ones. He brushed by our table on the way out. It was Robin Williams the actor.

     He pulled his over-sized black sunglasses over his face before walking out the door. He got in his black Audi and transported himself to whatever tasks needed doing.

3. I'm thankful for life's surprises, for excellent weather, the cool bay breezes, for clarity of thought when conversing with others and for the silent, abundant joy we have when we know our boundaries and adhere to them. This peaceful, abundant joy has another name: serenity.

4.  I've added a few more clients to my clientele, seeing them tomorrow.  I was offered a business arrangement last night that will help me add to my prudent reserve.

5.  I've moved to a delightful island town, life is good, the result of having a vision and working towards my goals. As the Greeks said,
If you aim at nothing, that is exactly what you'll get.
  6.  I'm regularly getting rest; I bought a new bed. How could I not have an Attitude of Gratitude?

    You know the routine. I ask if you can share at least three gratitudes when you drop by.  You've heard mine. Would it be possible for me to hear yours?  That would be great.
Related Post:


Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be best to leave it to God and apply the wisdom of the Withered Fig Tree. In Matthew 21 it states "If you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain go throw yourself into the sea and it will be done for you. It may be wise to say the denial is the mountain or the unsafe person and both can be turned over to God in prayer. Presenting your requests to God and allowing him to guard your heart and give you the right thoughts toward the situation is best. How can humans undertand what God has planned. If we just let go of it all the gifts we have inside can come through.

Anonymous said...

Did you get Robin Williams autograph? Anne

Paul NorthernCal said...

Thanks for writing, Anne. I'm not in agreement with you. Avoidance doesn't usually solve anything.

My post was about someone who resisted seeing reality. This was about someone I mentor.

I find it best to state my truth, kindly, and courteously, but to still share my perspective, especially if I disagree. After doing so, I leave it at that.

In response to your comment, I don't need to guard my heart, when it comes to another who is in denial. I'm not affected by another's distortion of reality.

The day described here, I felt I had the "right thoughts towards the situation," as you put it.

Thank you for reading and sharing; hope to see you again.

Anonymous said...

I was speaking about my own heart and God removing the mountain which was the denial in the way of seeing the truth. I wanted to clear this up that is was my own situation I was referring to and applying the biblical wisdom to guard my own heart. Looking back I can see how it helps to know what the mountain is and for a faithful friend to help you arrive at the truth.

Anonymous said...

Faithful friends
Long bike rides
A loving active God in my life

Pablo said...


Thanks for clearing up what you meant in your earlier post. My, you are up early. Did you have a problem with sleeping?

I appreciate you dropping by, and your comments. Wishing you a terrific Tuesday,

The Innkeeper

Pablo said...


I imagine you and Anonymous are one and the same, today. How are you? Do you normally get up this early?

Thanks for sharing your gratitudes! How does this week look for you? You might want to look at recent posts. Saturday, I asked some frequent visitors questions.

Here's one for you: how has God demonstrated His love for you, recently?

Have a great week,
The Innkeeper

Becky said...

Dear Innkeeper
Today I was in denial rather than being part of the solution in overreacting to my daughter's comment. After reading this blog I could relate so much about being in denial especially when it comes to the ones so close to me. I am grateful for second chances, time to reflect on my behavior and that there is definitely hope for growth on my behalf with the help of God and I will read Proverbs 27:6-7 more often! If you aim at nothing, that is exactly what you'll get. Today I choose to aim at working my denial out with God and not pointing the finger at my loved one. I am grateful for this!

Pablo said...


Thanks for dropping by! Your comment is a great way of celebrating the birth of this inn. It's almost one year old, give it a few more hours. It opened its doors late in the evening on this day.

Please don't be too hard on yourself regarding your response to you daughter. Seeing where you can grow in your relationship with her reveals you are getting healthier. At least you see it. We can't make any improvements in our lives without awareness. So, you have that. (I think I'm hearing you say you were perhaps to strong in your reaction to your daughter.)

As I like to quote, "an admission of error is a sign of strength, rather than weakness." (Goethe)I admire your integrity in admitting an area where you can grow.

I enjoy your honesty. Thanks for sharing what's going on with you.

Remember, you are not alone. And, thanks for sharing two gratitudes. You win my Attitude of Gratitude Award on this anniversary day. Kudos to you!

I look forward to hearing from you again. You have the innkeeper's prayers.

Quotes from the Posts

"I'm mindful that our thoughts affect the words we use, our words influence our actions, our actions shape our character and our character determines our destiny."

From "My Character Determines My Destiny." To read it, please click here.

"Progress not perfection, is better than no progress at all, especially when we're trying to rid ourselves from unwelcome dragons that dwell within the closets of our soul."

From, "Still Learning" which, within four days, became the most popular post
written. To read it, please click here.

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its trouble, but it does empty today of its strength"
From the post: "Life Is Not a Correspondence Program." Click here to read it.

"Even though we cannot control our circumstances, we can control how we choose to respond to them."

From, "Handling Stress and Dealing With an Emotional Bully."Click here to read this post.

"Nope, being busy isn't exciting. Boring is good. Because boring is not boring; boring is being healthy, living a balanced life that has serenity"

From: "Do You Know What It Means If You Are Too Busy?" For more, please click here.