Denial Is Not a River in Egypt

Everyday I encounter elders racing about and complaining how life’s no fun because they are no longer able to do what they used to do. I call that driving your car of life while looking through the rearview mirror — that is, using yesterday’s criteria to measure today’s abilities.

It’s easy to write off your slower pace and foggy thinking to getting older, to think that everything would be fine if you only felt and looked like you did twenty years ago. But trust me. Doing this will bring you no satisfaction.

Aging is not the problem

Aging gets a bad rap, but it’s not aging that is the problem; it is being in denial about the current reality, living in yesteryear. Okay, denial has a function if you’re using it to buy some time to make a better choice for yourself. It does not have a function if it’s a constant state of mind. Denial causes confusion and stress about natural changes that we all face.

How do we get to be present and embrace a lifestyle where we are in sync with our current abilities, where physical and mental activity includes engagement with friends and family? How can we make decisions that support our own satisfaction, stop regretting what isn’t, and look forward to the future?

Moving beyond denial

Cracking the code of denial allows for increased consciousness, living in our body, and being at our personal center of self. It is from this grounded stance that we make self-empowered decisions. Instead of denying the reality of who you are today, welcome the evolving you! It may sound unbelievably simple, but here’s the deal: the more conscious you become, the more conscious you want to be.

There is no “once and for all” about the rhythm of honestly examining your thoughts and feelings. It’s common to react with fear as your body changes. But remember that it is from your wonderful, sensory body that you are able to perceive the world and experience life! I encourage you to journal your experiences, share with a trusted friend, participate in a support group, and continue to identify negative beliefs.

Life is a journey, not a destination

When elders move past their denial, their world opens to more consciousness and stabilizes future decisions. After all, a barrier has just been removed, a barrier that prevented deeper self-understanding of often deep-seated fears. You often see denial in someone who’s been diagnosed with a terminal illness or grieving a recent traumatic event. Whatever the cause, deeper understanding of limiting beliefs helps free the brain and open the heart.