“We have to accept the reality that to one extent or another everyone has chronically amped-up distress, and a persistent negativity that generates confusing, distorted stories and emotional pain.”

This statement kicks off another fascinating conversation with my pal, integral psychotherapist Dr. Keith Witt.

What makes our distress difficult to accept, Keith says, is that we live in a culture that preaches zero tolerance for emotional pain. We have convinced ourselves that when we feel it we should be able to fix it — with therapy, pills, spiritual practice or one of the thousands of products that promise to make us happy. And if/when we can’t fix it we are a failure. It’s a double-bind that contributes to psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression, now at record levels.

In this episode of our ongoing series, The Shrink and the Pundit, Dr. Keith and I talk about evolving a more mature relationship with our own – and other peoples’ – emotional discomfort and pain.