Vitality: A Psychiatrist's Answer to Life's Problems

By Richard Esser | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9.
CREATIVITY, COURAGE, INITIATIVE, DYNAMISM, ACHIEVEMENT
AND SELF-FULFILLMENT

At thirty-one, he was extremely tall, extremely awkward and extremely shy with women. He became hopelessly entangled in a rocky love affair. She was small, pretty, sophisticated, vivacious — and broke things off when he couldn’t make up his mind. He was devastated. There seemed to be no bottom to his despair. He could not work, stayed in bed, became emaciated, seemed in complete turmoil and was clearly and hopelessly sunk in a deep depression. His best friends, fearing he might kill himself, took away his razor, knives and other potentially dangerous weapons. Some very close to him considered him crazy. Over the following months, though, and with the help of his friends, he gradually began to pull himself out of that despair. He regained his previous great enthusiasm for living. Most particularly, he regained his previous great enthusiasm for learning about everything imaginable, about ideas, people and living. That enthusiasm struck many as rather remarkable for a man who had had very little schooling as a child and grew up in near poverty. But there was, indeed, something special about him. People were struck by his vitality, his zest for living.

Such vitality was the hallmark of his life. Out of it radiated all the best of himself: his humor, ingenuity, native wisdom, decency, honesty, sensitivity to the needs of others, gentleness, resoluteness. Out of it also came something even more important: the ability to, time after time, rebound from the

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