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There is a lot of fear running around these days. I thought I would do a series on the topic. It is not clear how many will happen. Here is the first installment.  

As I’ve aged in my profession I give out more direct succinct advice. Once upon a time I would hardly do any. This is an erroneous hangover from my days doing psychoanalysis when I kept silent for the analysand to figure things out for his or herself. Nowadays I’m more wise and/or impatient and perhaps a tad testy so I give blunt feedback. After all I am not doing psychoanalysis but fifteen med-checks. I need to get as much out as possible. 

People often come in with complaints about their awful job or unhappy marriage or how miserable they are living here in Arizona. Most of the time they aren’t really wanting asking me to fix this but to agree with them and say how awful that is. These days I respond more often than not with the modest proposal they scuttle it. “You don’t need Prozac, you need a jobectomy” I tell them or ‘How about moving back to Midwest?” or even “You’d feel happier and live longer if you two separated”. Their emotions immediately convey the joyful sense of this just before their fearful brains kick in with all the ‘Yes, but’ anxieties that keep things status quo. I always acknowledge get rid of the tedious job/mate and house would be very difficult and scary and costly.  This often seems to merely agitate but it isn’t always my job to cheerlead especially when what they are doing is folly.  

One of the sad truths about human psychology is we are more willing to keep something bad than admit it’s a wash. Worse, the more time/energy/money that’s been poured into something makes it even more anxious to stop something. Not everyone will have the insight, courage, and self-restraint to fix things given the fear of the unknown. “What do you fear?” and “What would you do if you had no fear?” are questions often asked. It at least plants seeds some of which may actually germinate and grow into action.

I feel like The Whether Man In  the book “The Phantom Tollbooth’.  He’s in greets people as they arrive to The Land of Expectations, where first stop on their journey to somewhere else. He points out most people never go beyond Expectations but it’s his job to try to nudge them on.  

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