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I thought I would write some essays on how to have a better life. I am doing this primarily to organize my thoughts on the topic.  If Spo-fans find it interesting and/or instructive so be it. Most of you are intelligent types, well over four feet, not really needing this sort of thing I suppose, but maybe a few wanderers will drop by and pick up a stone to put in their pocket on their Journey and be better for it.

An interviewer was talking to C.G. Jung about his psychological theories. As Jung disclosed his ideas, the interviews apparently became annoyed at what he was hearing to the point of saying to Herr Doctor that in his opinion, Jungian psychology was just common sense in wrapped in shrink-talk.  Jung reportedly laughed heartily and replied something along the line if a psychology didn’t have common sense at its core, what good was it? 

I do not subscribe much to the notion of ‘Imposter syndrome’ [1] but I get tickles of this throughout my workday as I give out ‘common sense’ advice that is received as Sage Wisdom.  Mind! Many folks are missing ‘common sense” and are in sore need of hearing some. [2] and it is my job to try to set them straight.  Here are some of my favorites:

Give up your need to be liked.

Stop multi-tasking.

Let go of your desire for perfection.

Give up toxic people.

Stop saying ‘yes’ to things that don’t support your goals or do you harm.

Give up your need to control everything.

Mostly I try to get folks to give up unhealthy lifestyles (more on this next time).

It still amazes me whenever I tell one of these chestnuts to someone they have a numinous reaction as if struck by divine revelation. Glad to help.  Most of the time people ‘know this already’ as their loved ones have been telling them this sort of stuff for some time. As some old shrink said, intellectual insight cures ignorance, not neurosis. My job is more often about how to translate insight into action, and what gets in the way.

My analytical professors are going to roll over in their graves with what I am about to write.  Most of the time finding the unconscious event from your past that correlates to the present problem ion order to free up symptoms is often waste of time. This sort of insight-oriented analysis is like an exquisite wrench in my psychiatric toolbox: very useful at times but most of what I do is tighten or loosen screws. Even when you connect the dots that your fear of rejection stems from the time when you were six years old and mother didn’t give you enough brownies because you came home from school one day with muddy clothes does NOT translate into action. [3]  

When there is an avalanche in your backyard, rather than trying to figure out which stone caused it, focus on what you need to do to remove the mess.  

Back to Jung for a moment. His psychology is more about ‘going forward’ than the classic Freudian approach of ‘looking to the past”, which is why being a Jungian is more practical despite all its Dungeons & Dragons components. [4] Most of mental illness stems from or is made worse by dysfunctional actions and choices. Common sense can help, and sometimes a lot, thank goodness.

[1] Jungians already have such in their lexicon; it is called ‘The Personae’. The Personae is what we present to the world. It is part of our psychology, but it is not Ego, The Ego is ‘who we really are”.  Please do not confuse the two. People (especially the menfolk) get wrapped up as what we are is who we are. Bad idea, that.

[2] I shouldn’t be perturbed by this. After all, the lack of common sense keeps me gainfully employed. Hohoho.

[3] I have a vague memory of a comedian doing a sketch in which she plays a new-age type therapist who cures everyone in their first appointment (much to her dismay) when she tells them what childhood matter is causing their problem. They light up and their trouble instantly melts away, and they skidoo.

[4] And it’s more fun.

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June 2021

Spo-Reflections 2006-2018