Being In Denial

Often with the fear of accepting our mistakes and failures, we end up being in denial. But being in denial is caused by our experiences and expectations, too.

With our values and backgrounds in life, we know that some things are valuable, some things are not. Some things are acceptable, some things are not. The fact is, we won’t deny the things that we value and accept most. We won’t deny our love, our hobbies, and our good habits.

But when it comes to things that we don’t value and accept, denial slips in. We don’t normally value or accept a defeat more than a victory. We don’t value or accept others’ mistakes, failures, and bad habits. More than just not valuing and accepting them, we often end up ignoring them as well.

Some of this is normal, because we seek better things in life, nobody is ever planning to keep the bad garbage throughout their lives. However, this mechanism often traps us into thinking that the garbage don’t exist in the first place because we don’t acknowledge their existence. We then forget that these mistakes, failures, and bad habits can also be found within us, right beneath our own selves.

Detecting Our Denials

Accepting defeats, mistakes, and failures, is a whole lot different from ignoring them. And this is a skill that most of us still lack from time to time. It takes lots of reflections to build the mindset, and even much more humility to practice it.

Accepting these mistakes means that we are willing to take them into account, and truly calculate our future plans while keeping our mistakes in mind. Not as obstacles, but as lessons and reminders so that we don’t fall into the same mistakes in the future.

Thus, the most dangerous effect of being in denial is: to repeatedly do something and believing the result will be positive, even if it is a mistake. To believe that we’re victorious even if we’re losing, to believe that we’re right even if we’re wrong. To ignore the fact that we are at fault, because we’ve been too used to ignoring our own faults.

There’s no doubt that denial is a path to destruction. But how do we find out that we are in denial? Often the very people who care a lot about us will support us and ignore our mistakes. So in this perspective, talking to our family members will not be a good way to find out what we’re in denial about. The best way is to go out there and ask a relevant professional about it. Are we doing this right? If it’s about healthy living, ask nutritionists and doctors. If it’s about writing, ask writers and publishers. If it’s about career, look for a suitable mentor of the same field. The second best way is to look for brutally honest feedback from strangers and listen to them. What do unbiased people think about this?

But even with all the information that you get, you’re the one in charge of what you will do with it. It is most important that you listen to everyone, and plan your future from it. Do not ignore the critiques and feedback because they are hurting you. In fact, use them to help you see the mistakes that you overlooked.

Dealing With Denials

Now, how do we deal with being in denial? How do we decide that some things that we do are mistakes and accept this fact? This isn’t an easy puzzle to solve, but first we have to promise ourselves to strive for goodwill. To do our best, no matter what.

When you promise to do your best, remember that you are not doing this for yourself. You are doing this to repair yourself.

Doing things for our own selves, will only inflate our ego and cause us to be less humble. Being less humble, will only stop us from correcting our own mistakes, because we will think that we’re already correct even when the mistakes are still there.

Therefore, do not deal with denials for the sake of our ego. Instead, do it for the sake of repairing ourselves, so that we could bring goodness in our lives. With this in mind, we will keep noticing our mistakes until they are completely gone. The perspective of continuously correcting, repairing ourselves is exactly what we’re looking for.

In the end, repairing ourselves is indeed beneficial for our selves, it really is good for us. But if we put our egoistic selves first then we will soon forget about repairing it. That is quite a big problem to hold on to.

Be humble, so that we can learn from our weaknesses. Listen to your enemies, they may know something that you don’t. And focus on repairing the self, do not focus on the ego itself.

“Even the donkey doesn’t fall into the same hole twice.”

– Armenian Proverb

Animals are learners in terms of survival. But humans, who are capable of thought processing, is prone to being in denial. We fall into the same hole more than twice, not because we want to, but because we trick ourselves into thinking that falling into the same hole is not a problem.

So what’s the mistake you keep falling into, and how do you want to fix it?

via Daily Prompt: Denial

“Ithaka”, a beautiful poem by Constantine P. Cavafy

As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with such pleasure, such joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what Ithaka means.

 

Translated by Edmund Keeley, some parts reinterpreted by Gabriel Surija

Little Truth of Hesitation

As a human being, we consider some things as right while other things as wrong. But what does being right truly mean? How do we know if we are right or wrong?

Hesitation is partly affected by the social construct and the environment around us. Imagine a position where you’re in Mars alone, the form of hesitation will be completely different from the form of hesitation when you’re living in big cities, different from those living in rural areas.

There are two kinds of hesitations; the intent hesitation and the taste hesitation.

There are two intentions affecting a human’s decision. One is from the body, prioritizing one’s survival. The other is from the spirit, prioritizing one’s selfless love.

Our feelings and thoughts are the byproduct of these roots, yet we are complex enough to shuffle in both survival and spiritual intent into our decisions. This creates hesitations.

When we are thinking of just survival or just selfless love, the actions we take are really straightforward and honest. There’s never too much hesitation in “I really need to go to the toilet” or “My best friend is hospitalized, I have to visit him”.

But there are occasions where we are trapped in between trying to survive and trying to sacrifice for others. Such as “I don’t need a full time job, but I need to prepare myself to support a family.”

“I really need this monthly bonus to repair my microwave, but this mother and her child haven’t eaten for 3 days.”

This creates hesitation, because one intention is just thinking of one’s own needs, the other intention is thinking of other people’s.

The second is the taste hesitation. It’s the hesitation that comes from our own preferences and tastes, that may or may not link to our survival and spiritual hesitations.

“Is black shirt better than grey shirt?”

“How much sugar should I pour into the tea?”

“Should I eat banana or avocado?”

Everyone can answer differently because everyone has their own preference and taste. There hardly is any right or wrong in this case, unless you have health conditions that will then link to your survival intent.

However you choose between things, hesitations are gonna be a part of choosing. When you’ve chosen things, hesitations are still gonna be a part of sticking with your choices or choosing another.

If there are things that you wish to prioritize, write them down. It helps to reduce your hesitation.

And whenever we can choose between survival and spiritual, by theory it would be the best to always choose the spiritual. But at that very moment of choosing, we may think differently because we’re just human beings.

Despite all that, whatever you choose to do, do it thoroughly.

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”

– Confucius

 

Prompt: Hesitate

A Better Way to Study and Learn

Through our lives, we often face many challenges and shortcomings. Some that we can overcome, some that we have to let go. Whatever we choose to overcome, will demand more commitment and energy from us. We will be exhausted, but will also learn a lot through the experience of trying to overcome a challenge. In these challenges, we learn not because we choose to, but because we have to.

As we grow up, we tend to have more responsibilities. We will have to deal with not just our own challenges, but also the challenges of the people around us. The more successful we are, the more challenges we have to overcome.

But also don’t forget: The more challenges we overcome, the more successful we are.

Now as you may have guessed, challenges that we are trying to overcome are actually the best opportunities to study and learn.

People often set their own goals and deadlines, but there’s no point if the goals and deadlines are not challenging enough. The point is to make a challenge that is difficult enough such that we have to learn something or get better to accomplish it.

There are many challenges that we are facing, but how do we tackle these challenges effectively? And if there are so many challenges, how do we know which are more important?

Let’s begin with listing down the things we have to consider when trying to overcome challenges:

  1. Resources: Time, Knowledge, Morale.Resources are the things we need to use to finish the challenge. Do we have sufficient amount at the beginning? If we have sufficient amount of resources, then try to increase the difficulty of the challenge. Time: Do we have enough time to finish the challenge? Knowledge: Do we have the correct, sufficient knowledge to carry the execution competently? Morale: Do we have enough commitment, enthusiasm, and discipline to carry it thoroughly?
  2. Planning: Schedule, Execution, Precaution.Planning is how the challenge should be carried through, how the execution should be constructed. Schedule: How will we manage the executions within the time limit? Execution: What are the things we plan to do to complete the challenges? Precaution: What will we do in advance if there is a flaw in the schedule/execution?
  3. Reward: Improvement, Revenue, Reputation.Reward is how the challenge will have any effect on ourselves and how we will benefit from the challenge. Improvement: How will this challenge improve anything in our lives? Revenue: Will this challenge give us some kind of income? Reputation: Will our reputation be affected positively?

After we’ve answered these questions, go for a challenge that is most rewarding, and go for a challenge with only one insufficient resource. A challenge that lacks 2 of the resources (time, knowledge, morale) will often be very hard for us to carry out properly.

Example Case:

Working Out

Time: 1-2 hours a week, for a year, manageable (+)

Knowledge: Knowing types of physical training, types of stretching (+)

Morale: Hates working out (-)

Schedule: Every Monday and Friday

Execution: Push-ups, Sit-ups, 15-mins Jogging, finished by stretching.

Precaution: If Monday or Friday is unavailable, shift to Sunday/ Thursday

Improvement: Better health, body image improvements. (+)

Revenue: No (-)

Reputation: Being healthy gives good impressions (+)

When we write things down, we will know for sure what we will face within the challenge itself, and we can come up with better strategy in the future. Every time we feel the negativity in the challenge (lack of time, lack of knowledge, lack of morale), we can always look at this list. Read the resources and notice that we have more sufficient ones. Read the rewards and we will feel more justification of why we should complete it.

So what else are you waiting for? Plan yourself a challenge and finish it.

When we are trying to accomplish those challenges, we will study and learn naturally. And what we’ve studied and learned will stick with us longer because finishing a challenge is a fulfilling experience, it’s not just another textbook quiz.

“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one”

– Bruce Lee