When most people discuss denial, they talk about ignoring the elephant in the room. Cree thought that sounded silly, because if most people saw an elephant, they’d instantly comment on it. Instead, he prefered the book by Jack Kent, “There’s No Such Thing As A Dragon.” Likewise, a quote from author and lecturer Ursula K. Le Guin seemed to make a lot more sense than ignoring an elephant.
“People who deny the existence of dragons are often eaten by dragons.”Ursula K. Le Guin
In the book by Jack Kent, he told the story of one Billy Bixbee. One morning he woke up and found a dragon, about the size of a kitten, on his bed. Like a good boy, Billy told his mother immediately. However, she deftly informed him that there was no such thing. Billy ignored it, because it didn’t exist according to mom. The dragon continued growing, unimpeded. However, it wasn’t until the dragon filled the entire house, that mother finally admitted it’s existence.
What had caused the dragon from the story to grow so? It wanted notice. Similarly, when we ignore a problem, it often grows out of proportion.
Initially, addressing a problem head on might seem overwhelming. Take a moment to answer the following questions:
- Is the issue within my control?
- Are my thoughts helpful?
- Am I making this personal when it isn’t?
- Am I assuming the worst?
- Am I blaming myself unnecessarily?
Once you begin to eliminate the distortions that make you emotional, try looking for a solution by asking yourself these:
- Do I have a trusted friend who might know how to handle this?
- What would I say to a friend with this problem?
- How else can I look at the situation and/or myself?
Admittedly, those might take awhile. However, once you reach those answers, check them against these:
- How can I test my assumptions or beliefs?
- What evidence do I need to ensure accuracy?
- Is my solution helpful?