A Reexamination Of Comfort Zones And Creativity

Maria HillCreativity, Emotional And Mental Health5 Comments

Being in one’s comfort zone or not seems to be a marker of all sorts of wonderful traits including creativity and progressiveness. I can even be a path to success and wealth! I consider myself a creative person. However, I find many ideas about comfort zones, and getting out of them, to have very little to do with creativity and creating a good life for yourself. Since I perceive quality of life something that we can and need to create for ourselves, I think that reevaluating comfort zones is a necessary step before it is possible to actually improve your life. Distorting Comfort Zones Current ideas of comfort zones, in particular getting out of one’s comfort zone, are very much tied to the growth model of economic progress. Getting out of one’s comfort zone appears to have become somewhat of a cultural ideal and I think that is problematic. Being uncomfortable is not necessarily better than being comfortable. It is important to be able to know when to step out of comfort zones and when not to. Here are some reasons, a society might value having people move out of their comfort zones: if our comfort zone is “bad”, we will seek continuous self-improvement. Although there is nothing wrong with learning, it is better when it is for healthy reasons rather than to live up to a cultural ideal, we buy and consume more, in particular more than we need. If living in a smaller house and having fewer possessions makes sense for us, it will be demeaned in a consumption based economic system. “Enough” is just a synonym for your comfort zone. it can be thought of as supporting the hypermasculine culture of Western civilization with its emphasis on markets, competition, conquest, and expansion. Nurturing and sustaining activities are … Read More

Love Your Defenses!

Maria HillEmotional And Mental Health, Personal Development, Social Anxiety0 Comments

So many defenses. I feel like my life is often about bumping into defenses of one kind or another. Dealing with defenses feels like walking through a field of hay.  With each step you meet  a new stalk(defense) that obscures your vision and parts as you walk only to reveal a new defense. Often the defenses I bump into are the defenses of other people. I dislike bumping into them because in doing so the relationships changes – often not for the better. When defenses show themselves, the relationship door usually closes even if only for a moment and we realize we are not welcome. That happens to highly sensitive people a lot. Of course, sometime defenses are our own because we get hurt and our healing is not easy. What Are Defense Mechanisms? According to Dictionary, a defense mechanism is an unconscious process, like denial, that protects an individual from unacceptable or painful ideas or impulses. Defenses are a way for us to: like ourselves in painful circumstances make sense of something that does not work for us  taking care of ourselves. Defenses can sometime be a kind of denial. Denial has a bad reputation because it is interpreted to mean that there is something wrong with you, that your are too weak to face the truth about something. Denial like all defenses are often meant to protect us from a shock to our systems, and sense of loss that we are unable to process and handle. Defenses Can Create A Healing Space I respect defenses even if I consider them to be toxic sometimes; I understand that they have a purpose. In the case of people who have suffered a serious trauma they can be life saving by creating a space for the healing process. I don’t think anyone should be denied their healing space. We highly sensitive people are often harmed, … Read More

Unfreeze Those Feelings

Maria HillEmotional And Mental Health, Personal Development0 Comments

To a child all feelings may seem huge, since they feel so small – and are. Children are very natural about their feelings. They experience them and let them go. Unfortunately, it does not take long before we learn that our feelings are unwanted and inconvenient. Then we start to reject them and hold them in with all the negative effects that brings. What Happens To Our Feelings? Our feelings become objectified. We learn to treat them like objects at a store, some unwanted and others preferred as demonstrated to us by our families and educators. And so the stress starts. According to Yogi Amrit Desai, founder of Kripalu Yoga in a June, 2010 article in Natural Awakenings, Healing the Root Cause of Addiction with Ayurveda A Natural Cure for Unhealthy Dependence by Linda Sechrist,   “It is important to recognize that most people don’t know the difference between tension and stress… He observes that stressors—thoughts and reactions to our lifestyle, relationships, work environment and family life—are introduced through the ego mind. Emotionally charged thoughts and feelings of blame, shame or guilt then get metabolized into our biological body system. Stored in the form of toxins and neuro-glandular imbalances, these feelings create energy blocks that prevent the free flow of energy, or prana, the body’s self-healing wisdom. Energy blocks may take the form of muscular tensions and weakness in liver, kidney and digestive functions. Gradual decline results in a progressive deterioration of biological processes and consequently can manifest in external symptoms of fatigue, fear, anxiety and insecurity.” Essentially we are socialized to have certain emotions and reject others and our unwanted emotions then get stuck in our bodies and gradually make us sick. Why Rejecting Feelings Is A Mistake When we reject our feelings, we cannot own them and process them. When we are processing our feelings, we take them in, … Read More

The Safety Of The Good

Maria HillEmotional And Mental Health2 Comments

photo credit: catnapping The safety of the good,  it is a natural attraction. Do you seek harmony – or the good – especially in your relationships? Many of us, especially HSP’s do. If I examine my experience, I notice how often I feel an inner pull towards the good and working with others. Working with seems natural. Working against does not. Working with feels good; working against does not. Our Early Need For The Good As children we need to harmonize with our social group –  in particular our parents and family  – because it is a matter of life and death. We also have an instinctive awareness and need for the goodness in ourselves and in others to be real. We are all born with a naturally open and trusting attitude toward the world . Our trust is our psychological safety.  Therefore, when we are treated poorly, we maintain the “trust”  by assuming, often with encouragement from our caretakers, that the defect lies with us.  When our need for a caring, encouraging and  supportive environment is challenged in childhood, a young person is often made to believe that their expectation and values are problematic or wrong.  I certainly was. Too often we are taught that the good in the world and ourselves is a scarce commodity which sets up the power over others dynamic that creates the struggle and misery called reality.  It turns the “bad” into something abundant and dependable and the good into something that cannot be trusted and something scarce. Even worse, the abundant good becomes something we are expected to earn. Reality becomes a form of misery and our wires get crossed. The Frame Of Reality Perceptions about reality are passed from one generation to the next. In good faith we often take our attitudinal … Read More

Why We Demonize Each Other

Maria HillEmotional And Mental Health0 Comments

Why do people demonize each other? People increasingly recognize that demonizing others is a problem. However, our ancestors may not have had the same perspective. Here are some of the reasons our forbears demonized: survival. This is the oldest reason. Our ancestors did not have all the mechanisms for survival that we have, so demonizing others justified the taking of scarce or otherwise unavailable resources. to maintain the social glue. If certain behaviors were necessary for the survival of the group, then those behaviors were supported and others shunned.  Demonizing certain behaviors created group standards that enforced a social code. This is how we invented “the status quo.” Interestingly, according to research, our brains give us error signal when we act contrary to the group, so demonizing behaviors is a very effective method of social control. to protect health. In the past, humans had no protection against disease, no sanitation, no antibiotics,  and very little medication. If an individual was a perceived health threat, they could easily be demonized and cast out of the group. People had little knowledge about the causes and cures of health problems in the past and sometimes superstition and suspicion were enough to justify ostracizing someone. to protect blood lines. Safety was an important consideration for our ancestors. You were safer with people you knew including in your family. to support an economic advantage. Demonizing someone or a group weakens their social status and claim to resources and supports opening the door for exploitation. Many old cities and their monuments were built on slave labor. habit. Our ancestors had very little information about causes and effects. Often they explained their problems by pointing to forces outside of themselves. Sometimes they were right. Nonetheless, demonizing can become a bad habit. It is also very difficult to break if it … Read More

Inside The Spider Web Of Approval

Maria HillEmotional And Mental Health, Personal Development0 Comments

Note: This article received such a response in my newsletter that I thought I would make it available to everyone. I like receiving approval. I suspect we all do. Yet I hate wanting or needing it. I hate all the games that go with approval: the withholding of it – treating it like it is a prize or a weapon. the distortion of information to manipulate approval the overvaluation of approval when we are really all in this together We are social creatures, so social issues are important. Often we personalize social issues and judge each other, while disregarding the toxic social climate that can create many behavioral challenges. So many issues that are labelled emotional and are assumed to be simple but are really anything but. Approval is one of them. It is one of our biggest challenges. Approval is a kind of social stake in the ground. A position, if you will, with group force behind it. That is why we take it so seriously and should. Why Approval Is Difficult Approval is the manifestation of group structures, an expected allegiance. The viability of social arrangements require allegiances. Approval is a way of enforcing allegiances. So it often feels as if we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t and there is some truth to that. We cannot simply ignore the group structures that we need to negotiate. We also cannot let destructive groups totally control us either. It is impossible to escape the wounds of our social structures. The best we can hope to do is do our healing work, find our integrity, our calling and make our contribution to quality of life. Approval: The Spider’s Web That Claims Us It is important that we are kind to ourselves about approval. It is such … Read More