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Emails to my Therapist

Being Scared of Something Small

I went to a birthday party this weekend where the adult being so honored didn’t want to come into the house and greet the waiting party. And he knew this get-together was going to happen. So he stood around in the driveway, then on the porch, for quite a while. The buffet spread was out–and he was still not in. Finally he made the leap, came through the door.

The problem was: he just doesn’t like the moment of coming into a party and greeting people. Really, really doesn’t like it. Once he’s inside, he’s fine.

My point: everybody I’ve ever known has had some some phobia, some oddly particular thing they’re unreasonably spooked by. I don’t much care for millipedes, power saws, or used bandaids. Maybe we all choose a hook or two to hang death anxiety on, or performance anxiety.

My philosophy: tolerate those quirks in myself and others. They don’t constitute the whole picture; for example, this particular birthday boy is overall a pretty gutsy person. Maybe the odd and intense hangup keeps the real fear–from our precarious and finite position on the planet–handily bound up in a place where it doesn’t much get in the way.

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Categories: courage, fear, phobias, tolerance

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