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I Often Wish I Were Better at Denial

·322 words·2 mins

It’s tough when you’re really struggling with a big existential issue — and someone responds by spitting out tidy maxims you’ve heard thousands of times.

Yes, I’ve heard that quote. And that one. That one, too. I’ve heard every aphorism they’ve offered (unsolicited), after prying about how I’m doing and why I’m not doing well. I’ve heard those quotes that they think will set me straight just like that. And yet, I wasn’t prevented from struggling later on simply by hearing it. And not only did it not inoculate me, it’s definitely not a magic cure after the fact.

The trouble is that there are always unpleasant things that happened, are currently happening, or about to happen. Always. And the way that most people get through this reality is by avoiding them somehow. Some folks simply don’t think of them. Others come up with complex justifications for why it’s okay (some of these philosophies get pretty convoluted.) And some try to do the good that they can and know that while it’ll never be enough — it’s solidly better than nothing.

Usually, I’m in that third camp.

But even so, that action doesn’t allow me to quite completely avoid thinking about all of those things that are painful. Instill fear. (Even threaten a kind of learned helplessness, if I’m being completely honest — which today I’ve decided to be.)

I’m not sure where these maxims fit, precisely, in all of this. I think they’re more in that second camp — that one that justifies misery any way they can. In my travels, I’ve certainly found that the folks who are most eager to dispense unsolicited wisdom are the ones least likely to actually possess much. But they’re convinced that they have the answers to all of life’s problems. And are usually also convinced that the answers are easy.

Anyway, I often wish I were better at denial. It would come in handy.


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