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The Anxiety Dilemma: An Intro

Imagine your life as a path that leads in a meaningful direction.  This path represents your values.  Your deep priorities.  The things you hope to do and see and touch and taste while you have the opportunity.


Say someone asks you a very tough question: “How do you truly want to live your life on Planet Earth?”  The path represents your honest answer after years of research and reflection.


It would be great, in a perfect world, if our paths were clear: unhindered routes completely free of obstacles or impediments.  But our world is not perfect, so our paths will not be clear.


Sometimes they will be very large and other times quite small.  Sometimes they will be close together, other times far apart.  As long as we walk our course, though, there is one thing we can count on: Anxiety swamps will appear on the path before us.


Yet this alone is not the dilemma.  Certainly, the fact that swamps of anxiety stand on our path isn’t cause for celebration.  But it is not the dilemma, either.


The dilemma is born from our response to the swamps, rather than the swamps themselves.  The swamps rise up and we flinch back.  The swamps emerge and we diverge.  We have a strong tendency to avoid anxiety — an ingrained inclination.  And because anxiety swamps show up on one’s path in life, this avoidant tendency causes great disruption.

 The Anxiety Dilemma

Dylan M. Kollman, PhD