Another view of how to act from what you know to be true
Extract from Nancy Kline’s Time to Think: Listening to Ignite the Human Mind
(Cassell, 1999), pp. 82-83:
is the assumption that what is true is not true. When
something, for whatever reason, is too difficult to face, your mind can
interpret it as something else. A colleague humiliates you in
a meeting, more than once. Everyone around the table winces,
but no one speaks. No one, including you, stops it.
Almost immediately your mind interprets her behaviour as an aberrant
outburst, then as ‘the way powerful people behave’
and then as nothing to make a fuss about. By the next day you
have begun to think it didn’t actually happen.
Sure, she got a little annoyed, but nothing dramatic happened, did it?
is denial. It is the antithesis of reality. It is dangerous
because thinking works best in the presence of reality. Part
of reality is correct information about what is real, even if what is
real is very painful or disappointing or threatening. Your
mind does have the capacity to handle anything. But it
can’t do it if you present it with lies.
Questions help to punctuate denial. A few powerful ones are:
• What is in my face that I am not facing?
• What is the worst
thing that can happen if I face this?
• What is the worst
thing that can happen if I don’t?
• What am I assuming that makes me turn away from this?
is another good question we can ask that pierces denial. It
acknowledges the phenomenon of our being willing to deny difficulties
at the beginning of something because we prefer a romanticized pastel
view of what is ahead. But in fact if we only ask the
question early enough, and then face the answer, we can prevent
heartache and failure which otherwise can trip us up because we lived
too long in denial.
startled me about it the first time [I was asked it was the] astute
recognition that we can usually go for about a year before we are
forced to see what has been right in our face from the
beginning. The question is:
‘What do you already know that you are going to find out in a year?’
question requires you to supply and face your own
information. Ask it at the beginning of any relationship or
enterprise or change.”