There is a children’s story, “There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon” about a little boy who finds a dragon on his bed. It’s small and friendly and he excitedly tells his mom who, of course, tells him there is no such thing as a dragon. So, the dragon begins to grow and grow and grow until the dragon fills the house. His parents can no longer deny its existence,, at which time the dragon begins to shrink, eventually back to original size. Mom opines that a dragon the size of a house cat is a manageable thing and wonders why it grew to monstrous dimensions whereupon the little boy quietly says maybe it just wanted to be noticed.
Denial is generally not a particularly good coping technique. Sweeping things under the rug until we trip and stumble over the lumps does not generally produce the best outcomes in life. We practice avoidance because we are afraid. Yes, facing daunting facts (dragons!) requires courage and may be difficult, even painful. Yet a surprising percentage of the time, it is better to simply acknowledge others, listen and give them space to be heard (seek first to understand). This goes a long, long way toward reducing tension and creating amicable relationships.
“That which is denied cannot be healed.” – Brennan Manning, 1934-2013, The Ragamuffin Gospel
“The greatest illusion we have is that denial protects us. It’s actually the biggest distortion and lie. In fact, staying asleep is what’s killing us.” – Eve Ensler, b. 1953, Vagina Monologues
“We live in denial of what we do, even what we think. We do this because we’re afraid. We fear we will not find love and when we find it, we fear we’ll lose it.” – Richard Bach, b. 1936, Jonathan Livingston Seagull
As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier