Thoughts on Rationalization, Denial, and Burnout.


By Heidi Rettig

Owner and Founder


I have two jobs. This one and the other one.  I think of arts consulting as a kind of activism and like many other activists, my enthusiasm and energy for particular aspects of the cause wear thin from time-to-time.

I recently purchased a copy of a book called The Lifelong Activist and found wisdom as early as page fourteen. I think this section, "Head vs. Heart? Heart Wins," applies to so many aspects of life it was worth sharing here.


Head vs. Heart? Heart Wins

excerpt from The Lifelong Activist by Hillary Rettig

If you study [the previous examples,] you will see that frequently a strong and honest feeling is obscured by an intellectualization or rationalization. So, "That other activist was obnoxious, and I hated working for her," gets obscured by layers of rationalization about how brilliant and dedicated the activist was, and how much you learned from working with her.

We often try to intellectualize or rationalize away feelings or thoughts we feel are unacceptable or inappropriate. Try not to do this, as it is one of the most fundamental forms of self-denial. In other words, if there's a conflict between what your heart (your feelings) and your head (your intellect) are telling you, go with your heart.

Your heart often speaks in a softer voice than your head, and you may need to slow down and stay quiet to hear it. Just concentrate on your feelings, including your physical feelings. If thinking about a certain situation makes you physically tense or even physically ill, that's obviously a warning sign. Conversely, if thinking about a situation causes you to burst out into a big smile, that's obviously a very positive sign. Your brain may leap in and try to cover up whatever it is you are feeling, but don't let it."

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