Recently, an op-ed in the New York Times asked this question, “Why do you think there are so many people denying the existence or severity of the coronavirus?”
This got me thinking about one of the key distinctions we teach in Integrative Coaching. Resistance.
Denial is a form of resistance. If you’ve ever been in resistance, and we all have at some point or other, then you know how much of a struggle it can be. Resistance takes a lot of energy, like trying to swim upstream. It’s tiring, exhausting, and gets us nowhere.
Why would we choose denial?
By adhering to the idea that it never existed, we absolve ourselves from having to take any responsible action toward resolving the situation or circumstance. We get to be lazy since accepting the situation means taking some new action that we don’t want to take. In other words, we get to stay (stuck) in our comfort zone.
For those who initially downplayed the virus or attributed it to a hoax or conspiracy theory, admitting they were wrong and acknowledging now that it actually is a problem may cause feelings of shame, which may be even further compounded as one is then forced to recognize the consequences of that denial. Without the courage to accept the truth of a situation, we will find ourselves headed down the path of self-sabotage.
When we find ourselves attached to a certain idea or belief, we may experience a crisis of insecurity and fear when that belief is taken away or pulled out from under us. Oddly enough, we would choose to identify with a certain belief even though it disempowers us, discredits our integrity, and fails not only ourselves but also those around us.
How do we get out of this predicament? Acceptance. But wouldn’t it be much more convenient if the virus just didn’t exist? Sure. But the fact is that it does exist. Taking that all-important step of accepting the situation as it is will allow us to surrender all of our excuses, blame, and story that keep us trapped in a losing battle. Now, instead of swimming upstream, we are now drifting along in the current; in the flow, instead of fighting against the tide.
The key is to recognize exactly what we are resisting. When we’re looking on a personal level, this takes a little inner work for most of us. It may require a little courage and support from a transformational coach. It’s hard to be eager and willing to dive into one’s own shadow if there’s some fear about what we might find there. But remember, a shadow is dispelled as soon as we shine a light on it. Fears are often born out of old, worn-out beliefs that were formed when we were small children, but no longer serve us. In this way, we remain rooted in the past. Bringing these limiting beliefs out of the shadows allows us to make peace with them, replace them with new, empowering beliefs, and envision an inspired future for ourselves.
We can see how denial is affecting us on a collective level as it plays out right in front of us on our national stage. But we also know that the outer world is a reflection of our inner world. So, I encourage you to take the current situation and use it as an opportunity to look within, apply it on an individual level, and see if there is anything you are denying that is limiting you in any way. You can use the following questions to get started.
Questions for Reflection
- What situation or circumstance are you most resisting at this time in your life?
- What is the cost of resisting this situation or circumstance?
- What is it about this situation or circumstance you most need to accept?
- What action step could you take to support you in accepting this situation?
- What would become available to you if you were able to let go of what you are resisting?
Transformation is a shift in perception and always brings about new and empowering action. When we are willing to accept the facts of a situation or circumstance, without story, judgment, or denial, we open the door to new and inspiring choices that empower us to achieve our goals and manifest the life we desire.