Criticism Is Not Problem Solving

Maria HillEmotional And Mental Health, Personal Development, Social Smarts2 Comments

Much has been written about criticism and the inner critic. So why another article? It seems to me that we take criticism for granted as an OK thing to do. Perhaps it is our consumer culture run amok. Isn’t complaining how you get something done? Maybe to some but I think we need a rethink about this topic. Is Criticism Really Problem Solving? I don’t think so. Criticism is not problem solving. Criticism often feels intense, but criticism can be deceptive because it feels as if we are doing something when we are criticizing someone or something. However, more often than not we are not really doing anything when we criticize except putting our displeasure on someone else. I am not suggesting that all criticism is a mistake – far from it. Without displeasure and criticism we could not improve and progress. However, all criticism is not equal. In our consumer culture, convenience is an expectation and the absence of it often treated as a problem. This is one  kind of criticism that deserves questioning. Were we promised a convenient world? Criticism And The Need To Be Right Criticism can often feel strange or a little bit unreal. After all, the sun does not rise and judge us. The wind does not criticize us. A red light will not mouth off at us when we are driving through it. So criticism is our personal expression of some sort of disharmony, dissonance or displeasure. Implicit in any criticism or judgment is the thinking that there is a right way to think, be, or do something. This is another form of criticism that deserves questioning. One of the biggest difficulties people have in relinquishing their critical views is that they may feel that their point of view is perfectly reasonable – and … Read More

Causes Of Social Phobia

Maria HillSocial Smarts2 Comments

It is useful for highly sensitive people to understand the causes of social phobia which often result in the crippling self consciousness and which can contribute to the HSP tendency to have an introverted personality. Social Phobia is sometimes referred to either as Generalized Social Phobia, which NIMH states is the most common anxiety disorder, or Social Anxiety Disorder. In 2008, The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) released the results of a study: Social Phobia Patients Have Heightened Reactions to Negative Comments. The researchers used functional brain imaging tools, fMRI, to map brain reactions to a variety of negative verbal expressions.  It was found that those people with social phobia had heightened brain responses only to negative comments about themselves. The study made evident that people with social phobia are extremely afraid of being judged by other people.  The researchers were able to observe that two different sections of the brain became activated when negative comments were made to people with social phobia: the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) which is involved in the sense and evaluation of self and the amygdala which is central to emotional processing.  According to the Free Library, “the medial prefrontal cortex is involved in imagining, thinking about yourself and “theory of mind,” which encompasses the ability to figure out what others think, feel or believe and to recognize that other people have different thoughts, feelings and beliefs from you.” This would suggest a connection between criticism and fear in the person with social phobia.  In this research, the reaction in the patient was raised by criticism, but only criticism towards themselves generated a brain reaction.  It raises a question about criticism that is worth exploring: why would one person be afraid of criticism and another would not be afraid? As we learn more and more about our brains, it … Read More

How To Get Your Inner Critic Under Control

Kathryn NulfEmotional And Mental Health, Personal Development8 Comments

Are you familiar with your inner critic? I’m talking about that little mean voice that can just show up unannounced and uninvited. As a highly sensitive person (HSP), I’m sure you are already very familiar. You may even be well versed in some of your critic’s favorite go-to lines. Your inner critic can show up just about any time. It could be at a party among friends. You’re meeting someone new. Suddenly you’re in your headspace thinking and worrying. What does she think? Do I look OK? Am I saying the right things? Or you’re putting on your bathing suit and heading for the beach. But wait a minute. Somebody’s got something to say…“You’re not going to actually wear that, are you?” Or, my favorite, when you actually create other people’s thoughts for them, and those thoughts always just happen to be a negative mess. What’s up with this? And where is this stuff coming from? HSP, Social Anxiety And The Inner Critic As an HSP, you probably can relate. We feel things more intensely. We pick up on other’s emotions. We become easily overwhelmed. All of this sets the stage for a “preparing for the worst” state of being. It’s when we are in this place that we hear the little voice telling us it’s safer to not shine too brightly. It’s just too risky to live life to the fullest. And it’s really unsafe to be crazy in love with your life…and especially happy and at peace with who you are. I took this inner critical voice seriously for a long time and am still recovering from it. It’s exhausting, right? Are You Taking Your Inner Critic Too Seriously? If you start hearing your inner critic trying to get your attention, start to question it. Who is that? It’s … Read More

Superiority And Class: Thoughts For Sensitive People

Maria HillCulture And Sensitive People, Emotional And Mental Health, Social Smarts0 Comments

Why are class and superiority important subjects for highly sensitive people? Social anxiety is a serious problem for highly sensitive people, since HSP’s values are different from those of the dominant culture –  a culture that pursues competition above quality of life.  Finding a way to be in and live in the culture without losing yourself is important challenge for HSP’s.  Giving some thought to the difference between class and superiority and how each concept affects social relationships, provides a highly sensitive person with a good starting point for developing an effective social strategy. A competitive culture values superiority and winning.  Social and other forms of superiority promote the triumph of one person or species over another.  It is adversarial, often darwinian, and low in regard for human and other life.  It is the survival of the fittest model. Rank, Superiority And Class Superiority is an attitude.  In reality, no one person knows it all.  In reality, we are all finite, and “in this” together.  Therefore, superiority is really an illusion, a structural rank that may not have a basis in reality.  Class is not an attitude, class is a quality.  Class is the result of approaching all tasks and people with regard.  It is essentially humble, willing and caring.  Class recognizes that each life and each life form has value. Superiority is about separateness; class is about coexistence. Superiority is about conquest;  class is about consideration. Superiority is about prizes; class is about prizing. Superiority is about disregard; class is about regard. Superiority is about winning; class is about sharing. Superiority is territorial and exclusive; class is inclusive. Superiority is adversarial; class is collaborative and problem solving. Superiority is about toughness; class is about kindness. It can be easy to oversimplify, after all not all choices and options are … Read More