When we deny the story, it defines us. When we own the story, we can write a brave new ending.
Even if we believe we are fully conscious of our behaviors, attitudes, morals and perspectives, there are parts of all of us that are quietly in denial. I believe that is human and that (almost) everyone does this on some level, large or small. The state of denial provides a haven for us to eliminate the necessity to directly confront some aspect of who we are that we are not pleased with.
In some, the denial is so obvious as to become the variable that most see first about a person. A narcissist is a great example. In their particular delusion, they view themselves as elevated above all others and their overt behavior and actions call so much attention to their denied state of existence as to make most of them untenable. They are easily recognized and branded and that becomes their life… a perpetual state of self-aggrandized denial which ultimately defines them.
For those of us with less obvious chapters of denial, we are more readily able to conceal whatever it is that we are denying, until it eats away at us from the inside…. And then one day, we own it. We can make that internal change that says we are at the end of the line with denial and we clearly want to change.
This sounds so blatantly easy, you would imagine that all of us would readily get there and do so. But, as we all know, it is far more difficult than what it would appear as in face value. Routines are hard to break, lifestyles are difficult to change, and behaviors become so ingrained as to make the thought of changing them, unthinkable.
Last night, I received the tragic news that one of my peers passed away. He was an outstanding human being, a great family man and leaves behind a wonderful wife and two exemplary sons. In the text thread that my childhood friends and I share, I read silently as the news reached each of them and everyone reconciled themselves to that harshest of realities. I hope wherever he is now, that he is in a happy and safe state of existence that brings him everlasting joy.
Moments like this cannot help but be a wake up call for us. They give us a harsh and unpleasant flash card to look at our personal lives and evaluate choices that we have made, are making and will ultimately make. In those moments of inescapable reality, we are given a true gift. It is a moment to really face the reality that we deny. A moment to choose whether or not the internal choices that we are continually denying are up for review and perhaps a total rewrite.
Losing my father at a young age of 72, was that wake up call for me. He was my hero, my best friend. My mentor. Facing his mortality became the path that finally caused me to change my eating habits, and massively change my lack of exercise habits. Those are two of the most difficult variables in my world of denial. But through a determined focus and will to thrive, I slowly eliminated the 6 pack of Diet Coke I would drink every day to not in my world at all, and a hundred other similar options.
I share this not out of a desire to boast, but rather, to stimulate anyone who is teetering on the precipice of the life change that they want to make. I can share that it is possible to go from never working out, to being at the gym 5 days per week and really desiring that feeling you get from doing it. Since my father passed, I went from being very overweight, to sort of overweight, earned my second degree black belt, when I had never taken martial arts prior. I have thrown sugar and most carbs and all sodas and all fast food out of my life, when all of them played starring roles. And 22 years later, those healthy habits persist. I found a doctor who understood healthy supplements and have been taking about 20 of those daily in these last two decades. If you have not started to do this, I cannot stress enough that you should. Our bodies are a chemical cocktail. Why not refine that cocktail to your system’s optimum advantage. It just makes great sense.
Why share any of that? Because life is special. It is short. There are people in our world who love us dearly, as I did my father. Our lives are not entirely ours. There are others who count on us being there, day after day. Learning that someone you grew up with has passed away is absolutely horrible. If there is anything you can possibly do in memorial to them, it is to wake up, own your own story, and write your own brave new ending. It certainly is not easy. It takes continuous dedication to maintain the choices you make… But if you do, you are protecting the part of you that those who love you are counting on having in their lives. Day after day.
With love to all….