When our heart is injured and isolated, we can often deny our needs. Our injured wounds demand us to forget this “troublesome” part of us exists. This is how denial enters into our existence.
“The forty-five-year-old party goer who spends most of his social life with people twenty years younger is in denial of his aging process. The Bible study teacher who feels intensely ashamed when she is asked a question she can’t answer is in denial about her finite knowledge. The businessman who can’t tell the boss when he’s being unreasonable is in denial of his power as an adult.”
Denial makes the outside world think everything is ok, when at home, things can feel that they are spinning out of control. Denial does not give the body time to think and process grief. It does not want to believe reality exists. It reasons and rationalizes scripture hoping that the same scripture will hold when it is needed. Denial keeps us from being known and seen and heard. It can wreck a company when it does not look at the data with eyes of reality. Denial does not give us time to pivot and prepare.
So, how does denial affect our Emotional Intelligence?
In Neuroscience for Leadership, the authors state that denial keeps us from naming and processing our emotions in a healthy way. It can also keep us emotionally immature, unaware of how and why we are being triggered. Denial can extend past emotions and into actual memories surrounding an event. It can motivate us to create a false sense of ourselves. Denial can cause us to hide in harmful ways.
When we die to denial, we embrace the present moment.
We acknowledge how we are feeling and do not assign a negative bias to the emotion. We can hold the emotions lightly and give ourselves space to grieve sad things or give ourselves the permission to feel the gladness of a moment. We become more emotionally intelligent around our own emotions and that translates to being able to recognize others’ emotions as well.
While processing emotions is uncomfortable, the wrestling produces a freedom in us.
And that freedom affects our ability to hold and process others negative experiences without taking them on and shouldering their burden. Refraining from denial will help us interpersonally as well. We are seen as an emotionally intelligent leader and someone who is emotionally stable.
Could denial be holding you back? Don’t be afraid to look denial in the face and search for the approach that helps you move forward. Need help? Contact me today. Let’s Begin.