Our coping mechanisms

By Dave Henning / March 26, 2017

“That’s the thing about our coping mechanisms — they are always well-intentioned, but ultimately they do not get us where we want to go.”- Esther Fleece

In Chapter 2 (“Letting Go of Our Coping Mechanisms”) of No More Faking Fine, Esther Fleece lists and discusses the false promises of coping mechanisms.  While coping appears  to work in the moment, on a long-term level, coping functions as a cheap substitute for healing.

Therefore, the first step involves clearing the deck of the coping mechanisms we’ve been using to short-circuit the healing process.  In this chapter, Ms. Fleece talks about five mechanisms.  She presents the first two today.

1.  “Faking it will make me strong.”  Esther stresses that our culture makes a habit out of stuffing one’s ability to lament.  In fact, we often hide behind created physical appearances to ensure nothing weak or unacceptable shows.

Yet, the author believes, God in His grace sometimes allows us to temporarily move forward with unhealthy coping mechanisms.  That’s because we don’t possess better tools to deal with our pain.  However, that same grace eventually propels us into facing our pain.  When we face our pain we get a clearer understanding of God.

As Ms. Fleece concludes, faking strength actually “prevents us from being known, fears and all, and being radically accepted.”

2.  “It’s not really a big deal anyway.”  It often feels easier to minimize the pain when hard realities hit.  Esther describes the role of lament in taking an honest look at our pain.  She states:

“Lament requires acknowledging the truth of what happened to us — the truth of what we have lost or of what will never be.  We don’t minimize our pasts, and lamenting does not mean we are dramatizing it. . . . We . . . learn instead to take our pain directly to God, or we simply won’t get anywhere.”

Today’s question: What coping mechanisms do you need to clear off your deck?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: the new Short Meditation, “Discover the beauty in sorrow”

About the author

Dave Henning

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