Denial

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.                                                                                  John 8:32

Denial : a defense mechanism in which confrontation with a personal problem or with reality is avoided by denying the existence of the problem or reality

Merriam Webster Dictionary

As a counselor, I deal pretty regularly with people in denial of something. Actually, all of us live in some state of denial every day, otherwise, for example, we would never get behind the wheel of a car. In that particular case, we are in denial of the possible outcomes of getting into that car. Yes, the odds of getting into a bad accident are quite small, and that helps us to actively deny that such terrible consequences could befall us. In that case, denial actually helps us to live our life since a decision to never get into a car would significantly cramp our lifestyle. So, we take the odds. Besides, we can lower our odds of an accident by being careful, defensive drivers, and not drinking before driving, etc.

Now, the denial of COVID-19 is another matter entirely. Yes, there are indeed people who deny the existence of this pandemic. Even people who have been treated in the hospital for the illness have been known to deny that COVID-19 is any worse than seasonal flu. That desire for denial of the disease and its potential dreadful consequences may come from the fear of loss of control, or a sense of helplessness. Even with masking and social distancing and other good hygiene, we are all subject to an attack from this invisible virus without much else to protect us until the vaccine comes along.

Maybe that is why some people shun masks too. They do not want to recognize that they are subject to a silent, invisible disease that makes us feel pretty helpless. So, denial allows us to reject the presence or the virulence of the disease. I tell my clients, some variants of denial look like, “If I don’t acknowledge it and don’t think about it, I will be fine”.

So, denial is part of our defense system. We all do it to some degree. I simply urge all of us to check our thinking on this. Denial by some people may potentially hurt a lot of people.

Prayer: Lord, we look to you for truth and healing. Indeed, the truth leads to healing, Amen.

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