I'm not sure you want to read this - but it's the way my brain works. I've been thinking alot about self-delusion....and, living in the city, also thinking alot about cockroaches. The thoughts converged in my head in the shower and I realized how similar the two things are. They are both disgusting, create damage, skitter around the edges of our lives unseen (for the most part) and remain unrecognized until they are a BIG problem.
Example 1: I quit smoking three times in my life. Once should have been enough, but having successfully quit, the little creepy notion that I now had control over cigarettes and could, therefore, have just one skittered into the edges of my mind and soon propagated and .... set me up to need to quit again. Second time - same thing. Third time: DUH!! I learned!!!
Example 2: Having eaten well for the last several years (eliminating fake foods and sugars, for the most part), I let the changes of our recent move allow me to make my eating habits less of a concern than the more compelling problems of, for example, which shelf should I keep the extra rags on? We ate "out" alot...and often had dessert. I didn't see a big change in the bathroom scale, could still wear the same clothes (for the most part), could still walk and talk so it must have been OK... skitter, skitter.... The self-delusion that what I was doing had no impact crept into my consciousness without my noticing and propagated into a problem!! Back to square one.
Example 3: People we love who find their alcohol consumption getting out of hand, back off completely and prove to themselves they are in control and do not have a problem - therefore, they can have a drink because it isn't a problem for them any more - like it used to be. Skitter, Skitter, Skitter.
I'm not sure where the analogy goes from here - but in order to keep the actual cockroaches from invading your home, you have to be vigilant about anything that feeds them (and it doesn't take much nourishment for a cockroach to survive!) I'm sure it's the same with self-delusions. Really, do we think just because we don't see the plaque in our arteries building up, eating all those carbs and fats is OK? You can't feel the blood sugar rising, so it must not be a problem...
Actual little cockroaches can also creep in from neighbors' dwellings and it behoves us to seal and caulk where feasible. Probably there's a peer pressure analogy. I know with the first time I failed to remain a non-smoker, it just took one good friend and one very bad day to allow that habit to skitter back into my life.
So, hopefully, none of us will suffer from infestations of critters or delusions in 2012. If we do, the sooner we can recognize them and take steps to eradicate them, the better. One thing's certain: left alone, both only get stronger and more difficult to control.