(8th in an ongoing series on “Acceptance in The Time of Coronavirus”)
Overcoming denial is a prerequisite to acceptance. You can’t accept “what is” when you are unaware, can’t, or refuse to “see” the underlying reality of the situation.
This is perhaps even more true in The Time of Coronavirus.
Denial is not just denying or rejecting a certain state of affairs. Its subtler forms include wishful thinking, kidding ourselves, underestimating things, avoidance, or simply choosing to turn a blind eye.
I feel much of our responses to Covid 19 are of that nature. At the beginning, it was all too easy for me to discount or minimize its spread and impact on our lives. And I am quite sure that I was not alone in believing that.
I frequently heard (and still do) what I consider denial based comments about Covid 19, such as the following:
“It’s not that harmful—the flu kills more people each year”
“They will soon find a vaccine”
“The virus will soon run its course”
“I’m young and in good health”
“Only old people are at risk”
“People are just running scared”
“It’s all politically based”
And the highly optimistic denial: “Things are getting much better now”
The problem is that when you are in denial of the underlying issue or problem,
You can’t make the choices and pursue the paths that can alleviate the very problems you are denying.
Indeed, you risk making them worse!
A prime example is the early opening of restaurants, bars, gyms, and other gathering places by many states and local governments. In almost every instance, there has been a huge spike in cases, deaths, and shortage of hospital and ICU beds.
I’ve previously offered ways to let go of denial in other contexts. (See my post, “Letting Go of Denial”). One vital key is worth repeating:
We must be able to dispassionately see the “truth” and then have the courage and wherewithal to act upon it.
I understand that people will see different versions of the truth and/or may choose to act in different ways upon it, especially in these highly divisive times.
Nonetheless, I encourage you to at least be willing to reexamine your deeply ingrained beliefs in order to gain a greater awareness of when, how, and what you may be denying in The Time of Coronavirus. Remember, too, that when you deny less, you accept more, and will have greater serenity even during turbulent times.
In the meantime, remember to
Let It Go—and Accept “What Is!”
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