Caught Between Wishing and Fearing
For each of us, there are things that we want and things that we don’t want. It seems natural to assume that we work towards having the things we want, and that we work towards preventing the things we don’t want. And yet, many of us have plenty of things in our life that we don’t want; perhaps it’s more complicated than that. Are we caught between wishing and fearing?
The things we want and the things we fear…
Certainly there are things that we just plain wish for. We can feel that having them would make us happier, more fulfilled or more contented. There doesn’t seem to be much conflict about some of these things; if they make us happier and they don’t necessarily make anybody else more unhappy, so why not want them?
And certainly there are things that we don’t want, and they’re easy to list – illness, death, bankruptcy, disappointment, loss of love. These are the things we tend to be fearful of. Surely the things we wish for, and the things we fear are a million miles apart – aren’t they?
… are surprisingly closely related
And yet it isn’t quite that simple. When we think that Freud said ‘the fear hides the wish’, we instinctively know that he was onto something. It isn’t true all the time, but it seems to be true part of the time. For the person who fears losing control, perhaps there is also a feeling about how impossible but how liberating it would be. For the person who fears losing their job, perhaps there is also an excited feeling about what might come afterwards. Not everybody, not always – but sometimes.
And if this is true, then perhaps there is a part of us working towards things we don’t want.
Finding out about our pursuit of our fears
Clearly this is an example of unconscious processes. For the times when this is true, if we can better understand ourselves, we can better understand what really motivates us. Psychotherapy is a process that can reveal to us what we really want, why we want it and what we might do to have it.
– Tim Hill
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