Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt, by Lorie Sheffer, Guest blogger

2012 road repair
2012 road and bridge repair in York, PA (photo: Lorie Sheffer)

Before you can fix a problem, you have to recognize it and acknowledge it.

Sounds pretty simple, and yet sometimes our perception of normal can be distorted. Other times, we may know that we need to change but refuse because we want to be in control, not realizing that our control lies in our ability to adapt and change.

One day in physical therapy, my husband’s therapist asked him to close his eyes and stand up straight, equally balancing his weight on both feet. Because of the lack of sensation due to his stroke, his perception of normal was skewed. He closed his eyes, got into position and confirmed that he felt balanced. When he opened his eyes and looked into the full-length mirror that had been rolled in front of him, his eyes grew wide. He looked like a human Leaning Tower of Pisa. How could he have fixed it when he couldn’t feel it? He hadn’t realized there was a problem.

I have heard one partner in a difficult marriage say they are not the one who needs to change. They are not going to couples counseling, because it is their partner who needs to be told to make changes. They will just continue on as usual and wait for the other person to change. The thing is, even if their spouse is the one who needs the most work, how they react to the behavior of others can not only decrease their stress, but also go a surprisingly long way in helping solve the problem.

In the words of G.K. Chesterton, “It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It’s that they can’t see the problem.”

By jeff noel

Retired Disney Institute Keynote Speaker and Prolific Blogger. Five daily, differently-themed personal blogs (about life's 5 big choices) on five interconnected sites.