Present Realities Exposing the Deceptions, Addressing the Facts BY: Troy Murphy |February 2018
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The further we drift from functional existence (meeting the demands of survival), the more distorted the invading thoughts. A young person may suffer from minor defects as they enter adulthood; but as they move through this impactful period of growth, their deficits often equate to poorer choices, multiplying the difficulty of survival. They drift. Instead of mindfully developing skills, they aimlessly respond to quell emotions, shirking challenges and slipping further from reality. As the malingerer loses precious time, their character not only stagnates; it decays. Their abilities become more mismatched with the challenges. When life outmatches skills, the anxiety overwhelms, alternate paths are pursued. The mind employs new goals, seeking relief rather than growth; instead of behavioral change, the disruptions demand escape. The struggling soul finds momentary rescue by distorting reality, dodging anxiety but imprisoning the tormented soul to the past. Addictions, personality disorders, and unhealthy dependence expand and take over otherwise capable lives, destroying futures with faulty dreams, buried emotions, and dishonest explanations.
The challenge for a therapist, a partner or even the sufferer is the climb back to reality. Simplified explanations, pointing out the obvious, fails to penetrate the hardened shell, driving realities deeper into the unconscious. The work to be done is clear (work, love, and abandon the addictions); but the path to get there is difficult and often obscured. When what needs to be accomplished is so clear, the inability to do what is clear frustrates, discourages and eventually invites hopelessness.
This isn’t a challenge exclusively for those most lost. We all encounter this paradigm at new endeavors. I would love to have sexy six pack abdominals. I know the work and diet required from years of training others. But between the desire, and the achievement I crash into pesky interference, thwarting the sexiness.
"Simplified explanations, pointing out the obvious, fails to penetrate the hardened shell, driving realities deeper into the unconscious. "
Whether we seek a slimmer figure, a promotion, a degree, or greater intimacy, its often not the lack of knowledge that prevents success—the present realities of our lives intervene, and we settle somewhere south of our desires.
Some behavioral economists may suggest a logical explanation. We prefer what we have more than the goal we desire. When push comes to hustle, we stall, procrastinate and enjoy one last plate full of saturated fat soaked carbohydrates or a night out with friends as our tummies, grades, promotions and relationships suffer. We pay homage to righteous goals with plans but sacrificing the dreams on the alter of present realities. And it is here that distorted explanation rescue the conflicted mind, easing the dissonance, and soothing the soul.
This is the all-important juncture of change. We can step back and allow the compartmentalized mind to perform its protective duty or we can face the disruptions of cognitive dissonance, examining the silliness and illogic of our behaviors leading away from the life we wish to live. Mindfulness of the present realities can overwhelm; the challenges may exceed our mental, emotional and financial resources. Humbly accepting the vulnerability, seeking necessary help to strengthen resolves, reinforce commitments, and to warmly embrace throughout the process is a necessity—not a luxury.
Protecting our ego through misrepresentations is disastrous. We, with crazed thinking, resist asking for assistance, feign strength and stability, and fight the crushing forces on our own. This solitary battle is doomed. The present realities have intensified from the accumulation of poor choices. The battle we lost at the beginning of our decline was far less demanding than the war at the bottom.
Whether the march back to the top of the hill is long or short, we need help. We need the warm loving care of others. The treacherous ascent from the valley to the mountain is possible. Many stand as examples; but they did not travel this road alone. They found help. They exposed vulnerabilities with honesty and humility, reaching beyond the present realities and into future possibilities.