Famous is this statement of the Master, the Head of Adam:
Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, take up their cross and follow me (Matthew 16:24)
However, the Greek text rather implies:
If someone wants to be part of me, let him/her refuse identifying with his old self-personality, put it on a cross, and follow me, I´ll take it.
When one observes the inner world from a space of humble and compasive acceptance, something crashes with the expression "deny", since it generates "psychological tension". We can´t deny our old nature, which is a damn lizard, always looking for the comfort zone, denying all "it" does not like.
And since the role of denying is that of Satan, the Teaching hints at "affirming", for being "reconciled" in the Lord:
For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaim among you, Silvanus and Timothy, and I, was not "Yes" and "No", but in him it is always been "Yes". For all the promises of God find their Yes in him (2 Corinthians 1:20 ESV)
The very same name of the Eternal One, YAH, sounds exactly like the english and german affirmations: Yah, Ja.
And the Hebrew name of Jesus, Yeshua, starts with a big Yes to Life.
Therefore, we´re not asked to deny something which is there, be it: pain, fear, anxiety, hunger, hate...
These are inherent to existence, and can even be used as an aid for liberation.
One must simply find the way to allow the Soul to carry them as a "cross", the "cross of the Ego" that helps us resurrect, knowing our weaknesses, and therefore our strong virtues, which are a gift:
My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:8 ESV)
And this new recognition is made from a new nature, which is the inner Christ/Messiah, full of discernment, capacity to stand the pain, compassion, love for others, trust in the Common Father.
Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the New Self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator (Colossians 3:9 ESV)
As for the starting phrase, in case someone is interested, the Greek text uses the verb "aparneomai", which can be translated as "deny" or "refuse", pero according to the New Standard American New Testament Greek Lexicon (NAS), it has to meanings:
a) To affirm one has no connection o relation with something/someone.
b) To forget the own self-interests.
Therefore, the statement of Jesus Christ invites to "detachment", using the sword of "discernment", which separates the "old nature of the Serpent" from the "divine nature" of out Real Self.
The task is then to let the "ego" die little by little:
So you must also consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:11 ESV)
As the Sufies say: die before you die so you never die.
Without the death of the ego, there is no resurrection in Life.
Hence the symbol of the Crucifixion and the serpent on the braze pole that Moses raised in the desert (Numbers).
Mount Nebo. Work by Giovanni