Why do you (continually) resist the facts in your life?

Archived a column from WSJ writer Elizabeth Bernstein. Here is a digest.

Do you ever wonder why it is that you resist facts in life even when you know the facts are important? I do!

For example, about 10+ years ago I had LASIK surgery on both eyes. You see (no pun intended) I was both near- and far- sighted. The LASIK procedure performed at the time was known as LASIK monovision. Between you and me, I was growing increasingly tired of carrying (and continually leaving behind) eyeglasses! I eventually "graduated" to daily wear contact lenses. To me, it was a pain in the AM to mount and the PM to dis-mount. LASIK surgery solved the problem after the initial drama of re-training my brain.

Years later, and in my advancing age, my eyesight has again begun to deteriorate for reading close-up & particularly at night when I am driving. 

I know that it would make me very happy to address this concern yet I keep putting it off. Why?

Dr. James Shepperd, a psychology professor at UF says, "We want to think of ourselves as healthy and smart people who make good decisions so we resist information that challenges those beliefs."

Said slightly differently, and again according to Dr. Shepperd, people tend to avoid unwanted information when the person has limited financial or psychological resources. "Check."

People also avoid information if they don't trust it, feel that it won't help them or might force them into an action or set of actions that they don't want to take.

Further, Shepperd's studies indicate that when people feel that they have some control over the outcome of the information, they're more likely to agree to hear it (and perhaps act on it). "Check."

Assuming for a moment that you may be similarly afflicted from time to time, how can I cut through the resistance?

1.) Start by thinking about what you value in life. Per the above illustration, "seeing is believing" a/k/a "affirmation invention." Whatever is central to one self, in this case "self-care", probably gets done. "Check."

BLOGGERS NOTE: What is important to you? I would encourage you to write a few paragraphs (maybe journal it) and determine how you intend to practice that in your life. This makes the threat (or option) seem smaller, and correlating resources to handle it larger.

2.) Remind yourself that you're in control of your life. Finding out any sort of accretive information ahead of time typically opens up a world of new options. Over time, in the aggregate, peeling back a layer at a time will help you deal with the overwhelm that we all feel from time to time.

3.) Finally, ask yourself why you're avoiding the information. Contemplate for a moment why the information might be helpful or unhelpful. In my case, perhaps another LASIK procedure, eyeglasses or contact lenses is my best course of action.

 

jsexton

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