Anxiety is an elixir
Yeah, I did a double take when I first read that too.
I just discovered the author James Hollis, Ph.D. He is director of the Jungian Studies program at Saybrook Graduate School in San Francisco and I’m reading his book Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally, Really Grow Up.
It has never occurred to me to think that anxiety isn’t necessarily a bad thing but here’s what Hollis says:
The daily confrontation with these gremlins of fear and lethargy obliges us to choose between anxiety and depression, for each is aroused by the dilemma of daily choice.
Anxiety will be our companion if we risk the next stage of our journey, and depression our companion if we do not…
Not to consciously choose a path guarantees that our psyche will choose for us, and depression or illness of one or another will result.
Yet to move into unfamiliar territory activates anxiety as our constant comrade.
Clearly, psychological or spiritual development always requires a greater capacity in us for the toleration of anxiety and ambiguity.
The capacity to accept this troubled state, abide it, and commit to life, is the moral measure of our maturity.
He goes on to say we should choose anxiety over depression:
Faced with such a choice, choose anxiety and ambiguity, for they are developmental, always, while depression is regressive.
Anxiety is an elixir, and depression a sedative. The former keeps us on the edge of our life, and the latter in the sleep of childhood.
As an entrepreneur, I face anxiety and inner feelings of resistance almost every day because, believe it or not, it can be terrifying at times not having a boss telling you what to do.
As a parent I struggle with anxiety too, with the What If Something Bad Happens To My Kids character hogging up most of the space in my closet of anxieties.
But maybe, as Hollis says, anxiety isn’t such a bad thing after all. Hmmm.
Tagged with: James Hollis
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