Getting Stuck: It’s Not About What It’s About

“I am fond of saying of psychological dilemmas, “it is not about what it is about.” Why do we get stuck? How can it be that we so easily identify such marshy zones in our lives? We typically fault ourselves for lacking sufficient will power to get unstuck. But if we have sufficient will, what is the problem? The idea that stuckness is really about something else suggests that we have to ask what deep, deep anxiety or threat will arise from our getting unstuck. If we are ever to get unstuck, we have to ferret out what archaic anxiety we will have to take on to move forward. For example, is the deeply buried anxiety the fear of being alone, forsaken by others, or is it the fear of some potential conflict with others? Either has the power to shut down intentionality and resolve.”

James Hollis

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