Out of Sight, Out of Mind

I used to believe that out of sight, out of mind was a great denial tool that happened to bring relief. Sure, life’s too hard: my kid isn’t doing well, a relative is ill, the past is painful, I can’t fit into my clothes, so if I look the other way, it can’t hurt me.

I have two questions on that premise. One, what if this isn’t called denial? Two, what if all of those situations can’t hurt me anyway?

What do I mean? Sometimes something is out of sight, and I still ruminate about it. Sometimes something is in sight, and it’s not on my mind. The point of truth is that if something is out of sight and also out of mind, it won’t be in my experience in that moment.

This is not about judging the experience: right, wrong, denial. It’s just a fact of life. If I am not thinking about something, if it’s not in my consciousness on some level, it is not in my experience. This is not denial, just how it works.

My son is in Israel and unless I think about him or how he is doing, I am not experiencing my concern for him or my love for him…in this moment. Sometimes he is out of sight and also out of mind (as are many things in life as we go through our day), so I don’t miss him or worry about him. Then there are moments that he is out of sight and on my mind.

To the second question: what if life can’t hurt me anyway? Only my thoughts, perceptions or beliefs about life have the ability to create the experience of pain. Pain, missing, worry, these are the most normal human experiences.

Yet, deeper than our experience is our innate resilience to be able to handle life as it comes, no matter what. If I don’t fear life, I won’t need to try to “do” out of sight, out of mind. I can just “be” with what is in this moment.

Ride The Wave

By Aviva Barnett, MSW

Discover the secret to living
with peace of mind.

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