Stuck In The Spider Web Of Approval?

Maria HillEmotional And Mental Health1 Comment

I like getting 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 to us. Since none of us survive alone, our social life has great weight and can cause us pain or provide us  with immense joy. 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 and it is one of our biggest challenges. What Is Approval? 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. Approval is the manifestation of group structures, an expected allegiance. The viability of any and all 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. One way to think of approval is  to consider it an initiation into human social culture. Of course, it occurs in our childhoods, and if unexamined rules our entire life. Approval is a handed down formula for how to be, how to behave and who to be courtesy of … Read More

How To Eliminate The Inner Critic In 5 Minutes Or Less

Maria HillEmotional And Mental Health, Personal Development0 Comments

Perhaps your inner critic is nicer to you than mine is to me. Perhaps not.The inner critic is one of the main causes of unhappiness in life. It is a master at helping us to feel bad about something. The list is endless: something wrong with us or the world; it never stops, until we stop it. So how can we silence an inner critic attack quickly? in 5 minutes or even less? I call it the Get Real Method for handling the inner critic. The inner critic will always be a part of you. So the first step is to understand it and make it work for you.To get started: you need to accept it. Most people fight their inner critic when it exists to protect us. Life has always been challenging so it has a useful purpose when it is not out of control. to give it what it wants in a way that helps and not harms you. The inner critic wants a couple of things from you: to feel safe. Its purpose is to watch out for danger. feel appreciated. Don’t we all even when we are wrong? These are the questions that I would suggest you ask yourself, and of course feel free to add your own: Is the issue a present issue, a past issue, or a future potential problem? Is the source of the issue a recurring unresolved problem that you need to learn from? something you need to let go, someone to forgive, or a need to forgive yourself? an unresolved conflict about the values you were taught vs. the values you want to live by? something I may have missed? a new factor that I was not aware of? something I need to pay attention to or something I can let go of? … Read More

Distinguishing Adventure And Danger

Maria HillEmotional And Mental Health, Personal Development2 Comments

Fear is every present in our world whether we like it or not. I can come from a lot of places and can be very disruptive. Fear is big business. It can be difficult to distinguish what is a real fear and what is a manufactured fear, what is situational fear and what is conditioned fear. The Fear Problem Fear enters our lives at an early age. Naturally just being small and vulnerable will do it. We are also not born with a lot of defenses. Neuroscientist Dr. Joe Dispenza says that we take everything in to us when we are young because we have not developed the thinking faculties that come with later development. If we are born into an environment that is heavily fear based we will take that in and struggle then to handle the fear that arises in us. What kinds of fear are we talking about? fear of others: parents and authority figures concerns about fitting in dangerous people like bullies fear of people that our social group is afraid of (conditioned fear) fear of people who are different fear of ourselves: fear of being different fear of not being enough fear for our survival life fear fear of change fear of loss fear of betrayal We take our cues from our environment about what is a cause for fear and what is not. We are conditioned to be afraid of ourselves not just others. Women are taught to be afraid to assert themselves (fear of agency) and men are taught to be afraid to be emotional as part of their conditioning. When later in life we need the skills that we did not develop because of our conditioning we may become afraid of failure, embarrassment or the loss of status that comes from leaving … Read More

Why Vulnerability Will Make You Successful

Nicole TaffsEmotional And Mental Health, Personal Development6 Comments

I am a writer who blogs about being a highly sensitive person. I sit in my writing chair with my Mac and various beverages strewn about me, and write. It is very cathartic. I write about my emotions, feelings, thoughts, struggles, eccentricities, questionable habits, phobias, and anxieties. It feels SO GOOD to get them out. I finish my pieces and edit them for publication. I get ready to release them to the world. Then, as easily as they came, those cathartic feelings soon dwindle down to just traces and splatterings that quickly get absorbed by… Vulnerability What a word. It doesn’t look nice. It doesn’t sound nice. It sure doesn’t feel nice. However unappealing the word is, vulnerability and I have been getting a lot closer lately. It’s not something I set out to do, like a new year’s resolution: Make wise food choices. Unplug as a family and spend more quality time together. Feel vulnerable, exposed, and uncomfortable every day. I can’t help it, this feeling. It’s an icky, lingering emotion sitting right under the surface. All the time. I have been working on my craft lately, studying the art of writing and what skills make up a great writer. There is a lot of really valuable information out there on the subject. Many experts and influencers share their different theories and thoughts about what it takes to create content that resonates with readers. I have researched the topic long enough now to see a common thread running through all their advice. The ability to be vulnerable is what sets you apart. “Vulnerable is the only way we can feel when we truly share the art we’ve made. When we share it, when we connect, we have shifted all the power and made ourselves naked in front of the … Read More

What Our Emotions Are Trying To Tell Us

Ritu KaushalEmotional And Mental Health, Personal Development, Stress2 Comments

As a sensitive person, I am often caught up in the rip-tide of my feelings. They sweep me up. They leave me gasping for air. They throw me on the shore, battered and bruised. Because they can be overwhelming, I have been wanting to get to the heart of my emotional life. Why do I relate to my feelings the way I do? How can I express them in a healthy way? How can I emotionally self-regulate? Maybe, you, like me, are in this place as well. After all, it’s natural that in a world like ours, where we are never taught about emotions, we often end up with only about half the tools we need. As I have worked to better relate to my emotions, I have learnt some things that might help you as well. They might give you some missing pieces for your own puzzle. Here are some clues to help decipher what your emotions are trying, so desperately, to convey to you. The Clues In Emotions Every emotion has a function, even the so-called negative ones.   Many of us have been exposed to a harmful unleashing of powerful emotions. Think back to how anger was modeled for you. It’s very likely that it only showed up in its destructive form. Because we bore witness to this destruction, we might have started avoiding anger altogether. But all emotions, even the so-called negative ones, come bearing important messages. Karla McLaren talks about this eloquently in her wonderful book The Language of Emotions. She tells us how deep-seated beliefs about “negative emotions” make us lose touch with the very power that could liberate us. Since many of us avoid anger at all costs, we forget about the critical role that anger can play. Without it, we wouldn’t know … Read More

The Illusion Of Answers

Maria HillEmotional And Mental Health, Personal Development4 Comments

Recently I disappointed someone who was seeking answers from me. It raised an interesting introspection for me about the idea of answers and I think it bears discussing. Why Seek Answers? I remember when I was quite young – perhaps 6 – being at dinner with my family. At the time my brothers had small cars made of plastic with the name of a brand or model printed on the back although the plastic cars were all the same except for random changes in color. I was expected to stand at one end of the room and when my father held up the small toy at the other end of the room I was expected to say what make or model the car was. I usually guessed correctly – so much so that it became a form of entertainment for visitors to our house. I remember being terrified of the whole exercise because I was only guessing and I really did not know the answer. However, it was just one example of many instances where being right and mirroring “rightness” so often is more important than being present and living our truth. Living From Answers When we live from answers we have a predefined objective and an expectation. That may seem to make sense but there is an inherent problem with it: No two people, moments or contexts are the same. So when we attempt to obtain an objective or expectation we are essentially using force on people, places and situations. Not only is it disempowering for us but it is for others as well because no one can know 100% what someone else wants or needs. Living from answers gives us feelings of control and temporary feelings of security and even pleasure but we give up our power and adaptability … Read More