Sep 242017 1 Response

3 Ways You’re Living in Denial

We live in denial of our humanity. It’s the plight of our generation. We pretend to be machines or animals or gods at the expense of accepting who we were created to be. We are human. In some ways, our humanity is beautiful and should be appreciated. In other ways, it’s a continual reminder of our brokenness and must be accepted.

Whether it’s our strengths or weaknesses, living in denial of our humanity always has negative consequences. It results in frustration, confusion, and hinders human flourishing. The beginning of understanding, advancement, and appreciation for life is an acceptance of our humanity.

There are many ways we live in denial of our created design, but none are as basic as these three.

1. Lack of sleep isn’t negatively impacting my thinking or emotions. We downplay the importance of sleep and ignore the gross ramifications sleeplessness plays in our lives and the lives of others. We are not machines. We cannot run continuously without negative consequences. Long before we recognize our weariness, too little sleep is negatively influencing our decision-making process and emotions.

How many times have you woke up from a nap or good night’s sleep and felt better about something? Whenever we are tired, we often take things too personally, are too quick to feel threatened, and have less compassion/empathy for other people. Likewise, weariness destroys wisdom. How many late-night snacks ruin a good diet simply because we make bad choices when we are tired.

Sleep is quickly becoming one of the favorite topics within the medical profession. Evidence is compounding regarding the benefits of sleep and dangers of lack of sleep. Time will continue to prove the connection between rest and relationships. Tired people are snippy, close-minded, foolish, and cold. Rested people have greater capacity for empathy, compassion, mercy, understanding, listening, and grace.

2. A poor diet isn’t making me tired. We have no idea what a healthy diet looks like. We think we do. We know far more than we put into practice. However, the average person eats so poorly that we have lost most insight of how we should actually eat.

Food is fuel. The human body cannot function properly without the intake of the proper nutrients. While the old line–you are what you eat–is wrong, it’s probably true to say that in most cases you feel how you eat. We eat diets rich in sugars, carbs, and caffeine and wonder why we are so tired. Our diet is a continual roller-coaster and the result is exhaustion.

Added to this process of the continual ups and downs chemically, our dietary habits result in most of us carrying added weight. Carry around a ten-pound dumbbell this week and see if it gets tiring. I’m yet to meet someone who slowly and wisely lost a considerable amount of weight who wasn’t amazed at how much better they felt. Maybe the greatest sign of our denial is how easily it is to sell products online which promise more energy. Forget the products; simply improve your diet.

3. The absence of exercise isn’t hindering relationships. We know we should exercise, but most of us don’t. We know there are negative consequences for our lack of exercise, but we think those consequences are just inflicted on us. We fail to understand it’s impacting others. As humans, our bodies are built to move. Our ancestors didn’t have to worry about this because their lives demanded movement. Yet as technology has increased, movement has decreased. Now, we must be intentional in getting daily activity. When we fail to do so, we pay a price.

What is often overlooked is that the tension built in our bodies when we fail to move expresses itself somewhere. Most often, unused energy is exerted in relationships. Many of the frustrations, tensions, and conflicts experienced between two people are the byproduct of lack of exercise. It’s not that exercise eliminates conflict. It doesn’t. Proper exercise empowers us to put conflict into its rightful context. When we fail to move, we are often unknowingly looking for a fight. Subconsciously, we are programmed to use energy and when we don’t use it in a good way, we will use it in a bad way.

Be Human

These three issues–sleep, diet, exercise–are nearly inseparable. Each greatly influences the other. Sleep well and you will have more willpower to reject poor nutrition while having more empowerment to exercise. Exercise, and the increased movement will increase your ability to sleep while reminding you to pay more attention to what you eat. Choose good nutrition and you are more likely to move while being less likely to experience sleeplessness from caffeine or overeating.

Human beings demand sleep, receive their energy from food, and must expend effort in order to properly recharge. When we deny any aspect of those three areas, we are living in denial about who we are. To be human is to embrace the importance of these three things. While we can never hack these areas so that we never feel the effects of aging or disease, we can function at a much higher level for a far longer time if we would take these three things seriously.

One Response to 3 Ways You’re Living in Denial
  1. […] Everyone has experienced an extreme amount of stress at night only to wake up after a good nightR...

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