I had an interesting situation come up in my life recently, where I caught myself being highly irrational. It took me some time to work through it, but today I'm ready to share the story and the lessons I gained.
A Blurry World
I've had terrible vision since as early as I can remember. By age 7 I was wearing glasses with a
-3 (20/150) prescription. By age 12 I was down to
-5 (20/400), and by high school I was functionally blind without my glasses. For those with good vision - imagine you are standing face to face with a friend, and all you see is a giant skin colored blob. It's that bad.
I got tired of being so reliant on glasses, as they are a small, easy to lose (or break) object, so a few years ago I got PRK Laser Eye Surgery. The surgery was a complete success, followed by a rapid recovery. I enjoyed a beautifully crisp world, awesome nigh vision, and finally felt free from the shackles of a pair of glasses. I was clocking in at 20/15+ on the exams.
Since I am a big fan of data and keeping track of baseline indicators in my body, I continued to religiously perform annual eye exams. On the most recent one, it came to light that I'm now closer to -0.25 (20/25). This is not a change that can be easily noticed as it happens, but when the optometrist tweaks the phoropter the difference can be seen.
To be fair, 20/25 is still quite good. It's infinitely better than what I had pre-surgery, but the fact remains that at this point a pair of sunglasses with a tiny prescription will make the world look better.
On the surface, this seems like a simple situation. Accept slightly subpar vision, or get a pair of prescription sunglasses and call it a day. Either choice is great.
I examined my own feelings and found resistance. It didn't make sense: why wouldn't I want to improve my vision to be perfect again, and instead live with what I have now? I delved deep within and finally understood: I held the illusion of having flawless eyesight, and by getting prescription sunglasses I was forced to accept the undeniable fact that my vision is no longer perfect. I was irrationally avoiding the artifact that would force me to confront that the story in my mind does not match reality.
After ruminating on this I realized that the truth will be there, no matter if I acknowledge it or not. I can choose to ignore it, as is my right. However, I do not believe there is anything to be gained by that. I will simply experience the world in a slightly more hazy manner, possibly missing out on intricate details or worse, increasing eyestrain. While it hurts to accept the fact that something I had hoped to keep for longer is gone, it's worse to experience these inconveniences in life. Especially since they can be remedied with such a simple solution.
This brings up a fascinating realization, one that I believe could serve more people if widely known:
Ignoring the truth doesn't change its' existence.
Doing so only serves to cultivate a lie in your mind, giving a false sense of security, comfort, and safety in hiding behind this belief in a truth that does not exist.
It takes energy to sustain a lie. Every time the truth confronts you, the defenses have to be built up to keep it out. This creates a cycle of self delusion, which drains energy from you continuously.
It hurts to break this cycle and acknowledge the truth, but is must be done.
Ultimately, only when we accept the truth of a situation can we begin the healing process, working through the problem instead of working on burying our heads in the sand. Picking at the source of resistance to a truth can uncover deeper concerns within us, concerns that would otherwise be invisible.
What truths are you hiding from yourself today?