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Human Load Shedding Print E-mail
Gregory Grove   
Wednesday, 30 January 2008
 SheddingThe hot topic at the moment is load shedding. There is much unhappiness over Eskom’s inability to support our growing economy and the resulting inconvenience. Eskom’s euphemism for the blackouts is “load-shedding”.

In many ways, this is what we do as humans. When we feel we lack resources to deal with our life situations we also load-shed in one way or another. Let’s look at a few of the ways that we do this.

These are the twin guns that we all use at one time or another. When an issue exists in our lives that we prefer not to deal with, or feel unable to deal with, we deny that the situation exists or else dismiss its importance.

This can happen with individuals, families and entire communities. For instance, if a family member is an alcoholic, or abusive, or… you name it, the family may close ranks around the offending member and deny that a problem exists: “he is just enjoying himself”, “he’s a firm disciplinarian” etc.

The individual could deny the problem with “I can stop at any time” or “I don’t see anything wrong with…”

What about the old favourites: “ah well, that’s just the way I am/he is”, “What’s the big deal?”, “I’ve dealt with that” or “I’m/it’s not like that”? In this way we deny that there is a problem and dismiss its influence on all concerned. Now we have shed the load and don’t have to allocate resources to it.

Of course, the same thing can apply to almost any area of life. If you are unhappy in your job/marriage/relationship it is very easy to dismiss the situation with “it’s not so bad” or “others are far worse off”.

Don’t get me wrong – to develop our spirituality is necessary for a full life – after all, we are both “human” and “being”.  But for some, it can be a way to load-shed, to avoid life. This can take many forms.

We have all heard people who, when something good happens say that was the hand of God, and when something bad happens blame the devil. Now they are not responsible for anything that happens in their life.

Then there are people who are so busy reading self-help books and attending development workshops that they have very little time left over to actually live. For them, good and bad things happen as a result of karma. People they don’t like have bad energy and people they do like have good energy.

There are also those who plan their lives around what their psychic told them, what their therapist told them, what their stars foretold in their favourite magazine, what they channelled, in fact anything that the one they have appointed ‘guru’ in their lives has said or advised.

Some may even withdraw from the world altogether by joining a monastery or by climbing a mountain and becoming a hermit. This all stems from a deep-seated need that we all have: to have someone to tell us how to live our lives.

Another wonderful method of load-shedding. This can take the form of deliberately misrepresenting the truth or simply failing to inform the other of pertinent facts. Either way we now don’t have to deal with the consequences of our actions.

Lying is also often a form of denial when we lie to ourselves:
  • “I have to do what’s best for me” (possible denied sub-text: “I’m going to do what I want, I don’t really care what effect it has on you and this is how I justify it to myself”)
  • “If I told her it would just hurt her” (possible denied sub-text: ”I’m doing wrong and I don’t want her to know”)
  • “No one is being harmed by me pirating this software” (possible denied sub-text: “I’m a thief”)
  • “I’m doing this for his/her own good” (possible denied sub-text: “I need to always be right and it would stroke my ego/soothe my conscience if I can convince you”)
  • “I don’t really care” (possible denied sub-text: “I’m hurting like hell”)

Of course, the above examples are not necessarily lies, but be prepared to examine your motives.

These are just a few examples of how we load-shed. Other ways could be: procrastination, cheating, being sick, blaming others, keeping busy, never committing, never completing, avoiding intimacy, never being alone, having a nervous breakdown, keeping on the move, being a couch potato… the list is endless. The ultimate load-shedding manoeuvre, of course, is suicide.

There is nothing wrong with any of the above – we all need defence mechanisms to protect ourselves when life appears to be too much. It is when using these mechanisms become a way of life, our habitual response, that they become problematic. We all use these at some time and to varying degrees, usually outside of our awareness, and if they are brought to our attention we will tend to deny or dismiss them and become angry.

The irony of this is that while on the surface we appear to be shedding the load, we actually pick up an additional load. At a level, we know when we are avoiding (another popular method of load-shedding) dealing with a situation. So now we have the original issue lurking just below the surface as well as knowing that we are not dealing with it. And then we may well deny this “knowing” and then deny the denial and… you get the picture.

If the issues that exist are not acknowledged then they can never be dealt with – simply because, according to us, there is nothing to deal with.

It is useful to have a partner who can mirror back to us what we are doing do and the results we are getting. If they are to be truly useful, they need to be ruthlessly honest. If you respect them, you will listen to their feedback. And if you are the one giving the feedback, do so with love and consideration – you will undoubtedly be touching some sore spots.

A final thought
If you truly believe that you are confronted with situations that are beyond your capability to deal with, then what are you saying about whatever your idea of God is? That he is mean and spiteful and enjoys seeing us squirm and fail? I don’t believe this – I believe that we can deal with whatever confronts us.  We already have all the resources we need, but we may need support to gain awareness of these resources.

Gregory Grove is a Reiki Master Teacher, Trauma Counsellor and certified Life Coach in Johannesburg. You can learn more about him and the work he does at Contact him on 082 927 2300 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
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