No matter our circumstances, conditions, or opportunities, living in denial personally or professionally will always undermine the potential of achieving the best outcomes for all involved. While denying that something negative has occurred or exists might provide comfort, that comfort is only illusive and temporary.
Our daily lives are replete with examples of where we allow denial to creep in, even rule what we say and do. We see it in our families, our communities, in our state, in our nation, in our world. At the family level, there may be a member suffering from mental illness or substance abuse, but we refuse to accept or believe it. We rationalize that it is temporary, a phase, rather than confronting it the instance we suspect it or after we have seen mounting evidence. Who benefits in such a circumstance? Not the person, nor the family. Living in denial personally or professionally benefits no one.
In our communities, we may witness youths wandering aimlessly, with no meaningful educational support or recreational activities to improve the chances of them becoming young adults leading productive fulfilled lives. As parents, caring adults, and professionals across the vocational spectrum, aren’t we living in denial personally or professionally when we chose to turn a blind eye yet expect these youths not to fall in harm’s way or resort to a life of delinquency and crime?
At the state and national level when we witness elected officials, time and time again, acting, speaking, and supporting policies that are contrary to the best interest of the people, the state, or the country, what are we to think? What are we to do when we witness not only the steady lack of progress, but the decline in many areas of our collective lives? Increasing gun violence. Equal access to health care. Fair taxation. Race and gender equality. Climate change. Internal and external threats to our democracy. Living in denial personally or professionally will not help up confront these real challenges. Denial will only delay, even prevent, us from arriving at workable solutions.
There is freedom, there is empowerment, even peace and motivation when we are willing individually and collectively to stop living in denial personally or professionally and begin to deal forthrightly with what is going on in our private and public lives. There is much to be gained in improving conditions and circumstances all around. That is the only way real progress, real solutions can be achieved.
As painful or as fearful as it might be, we all must stop living in denial personally or professionally. Not to do so will result in the ultimate denial of all—forfeiting and never achieving the best lives that we can have—all around.