Do You Suffer From Emergency Mind?

Do You Suffer From Emergency Mind? - HSP Health Blog

Emergency (Photo credit: Tax Credits)

When we afraid everything around us looms large and chaotic.

Lately though it seems that fear has become the norm and we are living in a perpetual state of emergency.

Perhaps it has always been this way but I am noticing something else at work that needs questioning.

Emergencies Are Not Innocent

Emergencies have become a way of life for many of us.

Notice our entertainment. They are mostly about emergencies. Whether depicting our health care system, focusing on national security, or relationships, many of our movies and television entertainments are based on the idea that life is an emergency.

Of course, we have some emergencies – some of the time.

However, I think we need to ask why emergencies have become the norm for our lives. It seems to me that we have been suffering from emergency creep for a long time, and now emergencies have reached a critical mass to the point that we may not recognize life without them.

Emergencies are not innocent. They take huge amounts of energy and resources. When they occur, they replace any other priorities. A continual state of emergency is a great way to control the social and even political agenda of a family, community and society.

The Consequences Of Emergencies

When an emergency is over we are often poorer for it.

If we have a hospital emergency we certainly understand the enormity of the bill, even if paid by our insurer.

When we have major storms, it is obvious how much damage is done to the physical plant of a community but also how disruptive of the ives of the people affected it is.

It takes no imagination to grasp the horrendous losses created by wars.

Occasional major emergencies create small disruptions.

Large and continuous emergencies do much more:

  • they make it impossible to plan. What is the point of planning anything if those plans will be destroyed by the next emergency.
  • they create a situation where people lose planning and life creating skills.
  • they consume resources that would be allocated differently without the emergency. Sometime they even take basic necessities. When you are taking care of an emergency, you may need to neglect rest and healthy food. If you do so as part of an emergency lifestyle, then you will end up sick and become an emergency yourself.
  • as people who have studied evolutional psychology will tell you, war stops all growth. So if you want to keep a people down, start a war or other major emergency. They keep people from thinking beyond surviving for the day – day in and day out..
  • they consume everything around them. The giant sucking sound that we have been hearing for a long time is the sound of emergencies taking over our lives.

Emergencies And Highly Sensitive People

Emergencies can be particularly damaging for highly sensitive people. Not only are they intense and overstimulating situations, but they are exceptionally harmful as a lifestyle.

Highly sensitive people are unlikely to make emergencies their chosen way of life because:

  • the continual adrenaline rush is very damaging to us.
  • we already suffer from stress. Emergencies are stressful situations on steroids.
  • it feels like a superficial way of living
  • emergencies do not bring out the best in us.
  • stress is so debilitating that we will not be able to work in a constant state of emergency
  • they do not use our best attributes: our intuition, insights, wisdom and creativity.
  • we cannot sustain them.
  • we do not want to sustain them

It is unfortunate the degree to which emergencies dominate our lives.

Highly sensitive people cannot afford the effects of continual crises. They are damaging in too many ways.

HSP’s are wise to notice emergency creep and work to minimize it in their lives.

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Why Impatience Is SO Bad For You

Why Impatience Is So Bad For You - HSP Health Blog

Impatience is so bad for you.

It is one of the most seductive emotional states.

It is a great way to make life more difficult and relationships challenging.

Impatience is like playing a child’s game of bumper cars with real life and adult consequences.

Worshipping At The Altar Of Speed

I find the adoration of speed in our culture to be curious.

When I am going fast, I stop thinking.

Speed demands focus on the task at hand and so it cannot be a time to contemplate what you are doing.

To be truly effective at warp speed, you need to have contemplated, evaluated and assessed your intended actions before you engage in them,

Does our cultural speedfest really allow for that?

In my opinion, no.

Speed For Conquest

When the speed of daily life is ramped up, there are consequences. One of them is what happens with our attention and intention.

When we function at a slower pace, we spend time contemplating what we are doing, what we want to do,  and what we need to do.

We think about the implications of our actions, the alternative courses of action and the possibilities that our choices present.

We can own our intention.

When we have to go faster something has to give. What gives is usually the way we direct our attention.

A high speed life makes us more task oriented and more focused on the short-term.

That means that we delegate the long term to others. In doing so we disempower ourselves.

Faster living means that we have been made one down almost like objects or parts on a conveyor belt. We are the wheels on the bumper cars and someone else is doing the driving.

Our attention has to be elevated but we have lost our intention in the process.

Impatience Is Controlling

Moving at high speed means that there is not a lot of time for considering our purpose and agendas. Our attention is usually directed to working off items on our to-do lists. The really important stuff of life usually does not make our list and so without realizing it, our lives stop being our own.

We are living in speed, even in a state of perpetual emergency.

When you are in an emergency you do not have time to stop and ask why, you simply have to deal with it.

Someone else has set the priorities. While we think we are making choices, we are really filling in the blanks in a sentence created by someone else.

Observe impatient people. They are masters at making something wrong with you if you are not performing as they expect you to, or are not busy enough as if your busyness was a sign of your goodness.

How Impatience Took Us Over

Impatience is important as a social tool. It used to be that we aligned ourselves with nature. Our lives depended on an effective interaction with the source of our nourishment – the physical world we live in.

Nature is slow and always in process. It is interdependent. We have to work with and learn from nature. Imposing our will usually does not work vey well.

With the Industrial Revolution and the development of machines, markets took over from nature and became the center of our lives. We were diminished as was nature, simply servants of the market system.

The machine became almighty. We became dependent on:

  • the political machine
  • the machines of government
  • the machines of finance
  • the machines of war
  • mechanized business.

A machine doesn’t see you or relate to you.

You have to keep up with it, bend to it, and support it. This is why in spite of all the improvements in our living conditions, most of us feel an unspeakable loss. We never had it so good or so bad.

Taking Our Lives Back

Slowing down is the beginning of taking your life back.

It helps to see the mechanized structures of our lives as detrimental to intentional living, and look for ways to be as present as possible to all aspects of our lives.

We are not here to serve some machine.

We are here to live fully.

The impatient life of markets takes so much from us. Letting go of it, being willing to be without it as much as possible restores you to a right relation with your own life.

It’s worth doing.

It’s a great place to be.

The Importance Of Uselessness

The Importance Of Uselessness - HSP Health Blog

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Being useless feels awful.

Being useful feels good, doesn’t it?

It is nice to feel valued and know we are valued. It helps us to feel secure.

It also means we are supported to others and that we are welcome in the world.

Is There A Stigma For Being Useless?

As a highly sensitive person, I suspect that the highly sensitive suffer more from being perceived as useless because:

  • we need more rest and frequent breaks
  • we are not handy for dramas and emergencies since we operate more slowly
  • we question a lot of things including others view of what is useful – like I am doing now!

Busyness often seems like much ado about nothing.

The Problem With Being Useful

We live in a very strange time. People are expected to be highly productive. However, in spite of it we are often replaced by machines.

We are filling up the planet with huge amounts of garbage – the residue of our productivity. We are becoming sicker and sicker from our efforts to survive in a system that makes us obsolete.

Being productive does not mean taking good care of ourselves. It does not mean developing greater self reliance. It means participating in the consumption business: supporting it, making it work and reaping rewards from it.

In other words, being dependent on it.

This is one of the observations that highly sensitive people will make about our current system and the idea of being useful: we are really making ourselves dependent.

Busyness Is NOT A Sign Of Intelligence

Busyness has a fatal flaw. It keeps us engaged tactically and removes us from considering the big picture.

As a highly sensitive person, I notice when the big picture and present activities are at odds. In fact, I notice when anything is at odds. Busyness is what we expect from subordinates, the foot soldiers of modern life, the Hans Brinkers of our increasingly decaying commercial system. That means that busyness does not make us masters of our fate. Just the opposite.

Busyness does not seem like such a great deal. It is worth asking ourselves why we are doing all this.

Why are we?

Are You Engaged?

Many people think of being busy as the same thing as being engaged. Often we are made to think that slowing down is a kind of disengagement, even an abandonment of our responsibilities.

But engagement demands a lot of presence. Busyness does not. So when we are being very busy in many we ways we are increasing our disengagement with life. We stop asking important questions about what we are doing and why.

Why Being Useless Improves Engagement

When we are being useless we are open to whatever comes our way. Whatever information that needs to shape our perception comes when we are that moment of rest and open to it.

When we are useless, we are open to a different agenda. It could be the voice of our innermost self speaking to us. It could be an awareness of the big picture that shows itself to us.

Nothing can reach us if we are not receptive. So being useless is a way of being receptive to inputs from any and all sources. When we are receptive, then we engage in a different way, in a more informed way, in a more complete way. It shows up in our work. We do work that is more on point. we waste less time on that which is irrelevant or unimportant and we know the difference.

We rise to the level of creator and steward which gives us and others a greater experience of satisfaction.

Sensitivity And Being Useless

One of the challenges of being sensitive is that it is hard to fool ourselves. We know when busyness is hollow, counterproductive or destructive. We can feel it.

However, we need to work and want to work in a way that suits us. Adopting the openness of being useless lets us sidestep busyness for a form of engagement that is rewarding to us.

It is a good idea for each HSP to spend some time each day not just resting but being useless and open to the voice and wisdom of our true selves.

Our receptivity will reward us with greater enjoyment and fulfillment.

Rocking The Boat: An Important Life Skill

Do you want to rock the boat?

Make abstract art!

Abstract art does many things but it is best at rocking the boat and causing us to see things in a new way.

Rocking the boat is an important life skill, and one that highly sensitive people should embrace.

Mindless Activity

Currently we are besieged by change.

Given the endless activity of novelty and new “trends” you would think that we allow and accept rocking the boat.

In reality, we are probably not that open and accepting.

Mindless activity is not change.

Mindless activity can stop change because it invites shallow activity. Mindless activity is activity for activities sake; it is not purposeful and well thought out.

Another way to limit change is by creating chaos. Evolutionary psychology points out that the easiest way to stop growth and development is to have a war – which is a form of aggressive chaos.  Chaos is limiting because each moment is divorced from the next so that sustained activity becomes impossible. Under chaos, time and continuity are under siege; in war people are, too.

The Serious Business Of Rocking The Boat

When you are serious about anything, you have to invest time and energy. Serious intention requires a lot of thinking, experimentation, testing of the waters, mistakes and creativity.

Serious intention means you have to slow down enough to make the necessary investment in what you are trying to accomplish.

Working fast reduces investments of time and energy which creates shallow results. One way to keep people from rocking the boat is to have them fixate on a lot of ever changing novelty. It keeps people busy and creates illusions of change. The phrase, “The more things change, the more they say the same,” applies to this scenario.

To make serious lasting change, then, requires a considerable amount of sustained effort. It has to be well thought out because that is the requirement of serious commitment.

Rocking the boat is not the same thing as being challenging or provocative. It is relatively easy to be provocative but not easy to take an idea from conception to reality. That is hard work!

When we rockthe boat we are changing ourselves and developing strength. In doing so we are changing relationships and power structures.

Not everyone welcomes this.

Rocking The Boat May Mean A Fight

HSPs are natural albeit often inadvertent boat rockers.

Being compassionate and empathetic are two reasons. Being creative and energy aware are others. Our very natures, being different from non-HSPs, cause us to create conflict just by being ourselves.

But it takes more than creating conflict to rock the boat or tip it over.

Seriously rocking the boat takes sustained work and focus, something that HSPs may not be good at because of our strained nervous systems.

Serious boat rocking also may mean a fight although I mean fight in the sense of constructive engagement.

To create any lasting change the old and new engage in a struggle over the merits of their positions and the necessity for change, the comfort of the old and the dangers of complacency, the skills that we know and the ones we have yet to learn.

It is only in the struggle that the merits can be known, and strengths and weaknesses assessed.

HSPs are good at grappling with the merits but not with the fight. We may be good grapplers but we often do it in private because our grappling may not be welcome.

We may also avoid fights because they often seem like a smoke screen used to obscure the necessity of change. Fights often seem to be more like resistance to change so we may resist the fight.

HSPs Can Become Great Advocates For Change

Rocking the boat should not be thought of as a reckless activity. You could make the case that the best people to rock the boat and create change are empathetic HSPs.

However, we also have to be willing to fight. Fighting does not have to be fighting against, which is often how we think of it. Fighting can be the activity of bringing our hearts to a conflict.

Bringing our hearts, sensitivity, creativity and seriousness to change gives HSPs the potential to be great agents of change.

We need change and we need HSPs to embrace it and become part of leading it.

 

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Embrace Your Wildish Nature

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The wild feminine is on the rise and that is good news for highly sensitive people.

The wild feminine is about embracing our wildish natures, the ones that are at home in the energy that embraces us all.

The wild feminine is the part of us that has been demoted by left brained culture and ideas that act as yokes for the aliveness of the universe.

What Is Wildish Nature?

Wildish nature is the nature we have abandoned on our quest to conquer nature.

Wildish nature is. It is what we come from, it is ancient wisdom.

Wildish nature is what ancient tribes connected with as their true homes.

Wildish nature is safe, it is on our side. It is all of natural intelligence ready to help us live in our authenticity.

Wildish nature has all in it, so it can be what it needs to be:

  • quiet and still to listen 
  • curious about anything that doesn’t make sense
  • open to all forms in information that is relevant in an situation
  • strategic as called for
  • aggressive when necessary

Wildish is our wholeness interacting with and supported by the universal life force.

Wildish nature is our creativity, our innocence and resourcefulness.

It is our spirits made manifest.

It’s our intuition at work.

Wildish Nature Cannot Be Controlled

One of the things I love about wildish nature is that it cannot be controlled.

In fact the minute you try to control it you have lost it.

As Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes in her fabulous book, Women Who Run With Wolves, wildish nature is like a river. It is subject to itself and not any man made laws. It is life itself. It just is.

Wildness isn’t tame but it isn’t pseudo wildness either. It isn’t a pose we put on for others or dressing in a wild way as a defense. There is no one to please, no orders to take. There is only what is and seeing it.

Wildness is honest.

As Dr. Estes writes, wildish nature lives in the life/death/life cycle. Not the product cycle, not the marketing cycle, not the election cycle.

Wildish nature is not organized or compartmentalized. It is receptive and responsive to what is.

Your Wildish Nature Is Your Empowerment

Your wildish nature embraces all aspects of yourself in engaging with life. There is no society to belong to, so class structure, no gold stars and perfect grades, no competitions, and no beauty contests.

Your wildness uses all of your senses, not in the service of self indulgence or consumerism, but as sources of intelligence and information.

There are no targets to hit. There is no growth for growth’s sake. There are no mansions needed.

Your wildish nature embraces the unfolding of all life. It only needs to be with it rather than over or under it.

The left-brained world buts you off from what does not suit it. whatever it deems ugly. So do not grunt or growl. Too ugly!

The left-brained world wants you chasing approval and prizes, while your life’s energy becomes sicker and sicker with the striving.

The left brained world  has its order, and the full river of life is not welcome.

So leave your real Self at the door if you must and sacrifice it for the ordeals of empty achievement.

Or try letting go of it so that you can allow your whole self to breathe again free of the corsets of cultural customs and requirements.

Your Wildish Nature Is Your Friend

Our wildness is a friend. It is a friend to us and lets us be a friend to the other wild things we live with.

Your wildness is all of you including the parts you do not like generally because you have been taught that those parts are ugly: like softness and leaning and relaxing.

Wildish nature is  our natural curiosity at home in the real world.

Wildish nature is our intelligence st play.

We really don’t need anything else.

The Social Challenge Of Highly Sensitive People

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The Social Challenge Of Highly Sensitive People file0001931890417

Source: Morguefiles

 

Highly sensitive people are known for being independent and able to be alone.However, that does not mean that we necessarily are happy and comfortable with it.

Recently I have been asking myself why being alone is considered, “bad” or a sign of a problem.

Do I need to be herded into a group, an identity, or a cause?

Why Is Being Alone Stigmatized?

Have you ever noticed that being alone carries a stigma?

Why do we disparage the “crazy cat lady”, or the “poor” bachelor?

It amazes me that to this day the early definitions of being human still apply. You are to be married, have children, women should be mothers and men should be warriors.

These are important and valued roles. They are the subject of most social discourse. Succeeding at them is gives us status which gives us social protection.

Does Popularity Protect Us?

Acquiesing to and succeeding at these roles also give us popularity.

That is a lot of social incentive to conform!

Does popularity protect us?

Popularity may have had important survival implications in the past.  Consider an old civilization having food shortages. Who would eat and who would not? Certainly the least popular would  be less likely to be saved.

The popular social roles once has serious survival implications. People did not live long, so we continually need new ones. War was common and soldiers were needed. War, disease and short life spans meant that only certain roles were supported, roles that affected the ability of the group to survive.

Those days may be over. However, they still seem to live in our minds.

We have certainly developed a lot of skills around coercing people to be a certain way. And the stories that we tell are often around our survival story.

Saving ourselves is a popular story and popularity is like social grease in a complicated world of many differences and agendas.

Ostracism As Punishment

Being alone is often used as a punishment.

It is the basis of shunning and ostracism, and designed to engender conformity.

Being alone or the threat of abandonment is a great way to enforce loyalty to a group. Since we need others to survive, ostracism is a serious threat. It does not matter whether you are an adult or child, unless you have independent resources, ostracism can be very harmhul to your health and well-being.

However, it is often more of a social game than anything else in modern society – the game of who is in and who is out. A game with consequences.

Social Rejection

For me and from other highly sensitive people, social rejection is a greater concern than being alone.

Social rejection for many highly sensitive people comes from being different, something over which they have no control.

Being holistic and inclusive thinkers, we do not naturally see the divisions, rules and roles that others may call reality. The survival game that engages so many people is not a natural conversation for highly sensitive people.

The problem can also be a sensitive one since highly sensitive people are outnumbered and will be unlikely to have a significant voice in many social situations.

Highly sensitive people are good at seeing beyond social and cultural drama, so when they are being rejected it can be because they see life and what is important differently. The value of highly sensitive people does not lie in the the survival drama, it lies in the manifestation of our higher selves which we need to do more of.

Finding Social Value For Highly Sensitive People

The Dalai Lama made the observation that we do not need more successful people, we need more healers and peacemakers. We need more people to lay down their weapons, give up chasing trophies. We need more people to become grounded in the reality that we are not really adversaries and there is no prize to be had. There is no one to beat.

Highly sensitive people offer a lot to a world that sorely needs their holistic brains in order to detach from the human survival  story so that something new can emerge.

Our social value comes from our wisdom and insights, our knowledge of the pain caused by repeating the survival drama with each new generation.

We can question, offer new ideas, encourage new thinking, offer our creative prowess and friendship.

This are important social contributions that make highly sensitive people valuable and worth having around.

Creating Harmony: When Not To Try And Make It Work

I like harmony.

I suspect that many HSPs do.

Harmony to me is important because at its best it tells us that we are making effective choices.

At its worst, we are keeping a destructive peace.

Which is operating in your life?

Why Is Harmony So Elusive?

I have often wondered why harmony is so elusive.

As a young girl, there was so much acrimony around me that I would scratch my head until it bled. I found it so upsetting.

All the conflict and misery also seemed very unnecessary.

I did not get it.

My parents grew up during the depression and World War II, so perhaps that explains some of it. If you grow up during a war, war can become your reality and it certainly seemed that war was their reality.

But I ended up thinking that their childhood spent in war was not the total answer.

Sensitivity And Conflict

I pick up on conflict easily.

I also find it uncomfortable since often what causes conflict are unresolved past issues, denial, expectations – in other words, the issues and problems people do not want to see or engage about.

Like many HSPs, I can absorb the unhappiness around me, and it brings me down.

I often do not know what to do with my awareness but know I do not want to cause harm. That is important to me.

However, if I encounter a conflict or unresolved problem and say nothing then I have a problem with myself. At the end of the day I have to be able to feel that I have made good choices to be square with myself.

Being sensitive sometimes means that I feel caught between a rock and a hard place. I live in the spaces between thoughts and actions, intentions and results, wishes and realizations, ideas and reality. It’s a place where non HSPs do not see. It creates our disconnect, our disharmony. I would love for it to be different so we could share a similar space to work from.

Sensitivity And The Big Picture

Sensitives notice the disconnects the places where something does not work. It is also part of our natures to be conscientious so we can be very uncomfortable with all of the loose ends, that are left to be taken are of. Guess who usually does that.

In our zeal to promote well-being and good will we can be the ones who do the little things that get overlooked, fix the places were denial left a gap, and extend ourselves beyond our breaking point to keep things working when those around us don’t care about it so much.

But we do.

Sometimes we are the ones who care too much.

It can not only exhaust us but also break us.

It can cause us to feel lonely, neglected and cheated.

We need a better way.

How Capitalistic Thinking Hurts HSPs

Capitalism is essentially an acquisitive, exploitive system.

Its drive for profit means that people may skim for the good and leave whatever is “unprofitable” to them. Taking care of loose ends is often considered unprofitable activity even if having things run smoothly makes life better and more enjoyable.

The demand for profit skews the way people invest their time. It forces people to be opportunistic. It also means that people may want benefits without incurring the costs – something for nothing.

The point is that our system is not communitarian, but HSPs often are and therefore may spend time serving that which is overlooked in the service of profit causing us to feel taken advantage of.

Service and exploitation are not the same thing.

HSPs Need For Self Protection

We HSPs need to consider how we are using our time.

Are we doing other people’s work?

Are we fixing things for others but not ourselves?

Are people taking our time with problems that are not our own?

Are we being “delegated to” and taken for granted?

Are we expected to clean up after others?

How To Own Your Time

The easiest way to limit being taken advantage of is to get a handle on certain realities:

  • you only have so much time as does everyone else and you need to respect your limits
  • you are not responsible for the excesses of other people
  • you have a right to set your priorities and a responsibility to make sure you are taken care of.
  • it is good to let others solve their own problem
  • people become more responsible when they clean up after themselves.

Taking back your time is a great way to rebalance your life and make sure that you are taking care of yourself, and not just keeping the peace at your expense.

We HSPs are precious and need to treat our time and energy as important.

When we do, interpersonal conflicts can diminish and we can let go of taking care of everyone else at our expense.

Then we can flourish and thrive.

Sounds good to me.

What Happened To Play?

What happened to play?

Did you make mud pies when you were a child?

Perhaps you spent time in a playground, or a sandbox.

Did you build castles in the sand?

What happened to the joyful spirit of play in your life?

Enter Insecurity

I was raised in a conservative environment so conditioning started at a young age.

I am not good about being indoctrinated so I noticed when anyone tried.

To this day, I notice.

However, the force feeding of fear and insecurity has an effect whether you like it or not.

It causes sadness, pain and loneliness. And insecurity.

I experienced all of those things.

The fear world causes us to pull back and stop fulling engaging with life.

When that happens a part of us dies a little bit at a time.

Who Gets Hurt?

Children are known to be sensitive to the hurt in others. Many comfort those around them who are in pain.

They are not, however, sophisticated in understanding the source of that pain.

How many of us are taught that if we are not obedient and quiet, we are a source of pain to others?

How many of us are taught that when we  are joyful we are hurting others?

How many of us are taught that happiness is something we earn?

How many of us are taught that curiosity is bad?

How many of us are taught that our creative, fully alive spirit is too much?

How many of us are taught that the more alive we are, the more of a burden we are?

No Room For Play

Play is how we learn.

Play is how we become strong.

So when we slowly close the door on play, we disempower ourselves and others.

Play is the basis of trial and error and give and take.

Play helps us to be open to possibility and to the good wherever we find it.

Playing with others helps us learn to trust them even if they are very different from us.

Play: The Path To Empowerment

Play lets us be more process oriented so that we are less focused on outcomes and more focused on our engagement in the trial and error process of creating

Play lets us work through a problem, so we learn how to do it.

When we engage in play we learn when to move forward and when not to. We learn to act, reflect on our actions and make adjustments. We learn what works and what does not and we acquire our own skills and knowledge independent of any one else.

Children used to go outside to play all the time. It was important to do so because it gave you direct access to your experience and eventually helped you develop skill and wisdom. You did not require the validation of anyone else. Directness develops power.

That appears to have changed and now young people have structured activities that are usually supervised and controlled.

Are they are better off?

Coming Into Our Own

We all need to find and take our place in the world. To do so we need to find our strengths and that occurs through play.

Play enables us to take calculated risks and teaches us how to handle our successes and failures.

Play makes failure a normal part of life. How many of us have a healthy attitude toward failure?

In the interest of safety and security we may have given up our resilience and spirits and I am not sure that we have made the right bargain.

Play helps us become who we were meant to become.

It helps is come into our own.

Which is why it is so important.

The Value Of Evolutional Thinking For HSPs

Evolutional Thinking: IMG_3167
Creative Commons License photo credit: ellenm1

Does the world sometimes seem ridiculously messy?

Does it seem impossible to deal in an effective way with the infinite number of different human beings?

Do you ever want an easier way?

What Is Evolutional Thinking?

Evolutional thinking is a way of getting a handle on the complexity of the human race.

Evolutional thinking is how one uses the new research on evolutional psychology to manage people and situations better.  It provides a lot of insight into how people come to be who they are and think how they do. It gives you a window into the ever changing nature of human identity so that you can feel less “at sea” in working with people differences.

The value of evolutional thinking is in how it help HSP’s navigate different cultures and social situations with improved decision making and social skills. What is it? Evolutional thinking is a different and more complete way of thinking about the inevitability of differences in people, communities, organizations and countries in all areas of life.

it is a tool that makes it possible for highly sensitive people to be more easily constructive in their interactions. Evolutional thinking helps HSP’s process social information so that they become less stressed and can handle information more easily. Evolutional thinking considers the context of any situation so it accepts each person and situation within the larger human evolutional framework.  It is a way of having and maintaining perspective which helps to reduce stress.

Where did this come from? During the last half century, one of the most important areas of research has been psychological and human evolutional patterns. One of the most important  researchers was Dr. Clare Graves, a psychology professor at Utica College in New York.  Dr. Graves conducted many studies to identity psychological identity.  In doing so he identified the evolutional model that became the basis of the book, Spiral Dynamics by Don Beck and Chris Cowan.

Dr. Graves evolved a different idea about intelligence.  According to Chris Cowans’ website on Spiral Dynamics, the Gravesian model integrated biology, psychology and sociology into what he called biopsychosocial systems. This approach sees different and multiple intelligences at work at all times based on the realities of the life conditions at hand.

The Spiral Dynamics website elaborates further: “The term, bio-psycho-social, reflects Graves’s insistence on the importance of a multidisciplinary, multidimensional approach to understanding human nature:

  • “Bio” for the neurology and chemical energy of life and the organismic part of us
  • “Psycho” for the variables of personality and life experiences, our temperaments and sense of self and relationships to other
  • “Social” for the collective energy in group dynamics and culture as the interpersonal domain influences human behavior in collective settings ranging from small groups and families to corporations and entire societies
  • “System” for the interdependence and action/reaction of these three upon one another in a coherent whole according to principles laid out in General Systems theory and other approaches to how things work and interact”

Graves demonstrated that there are certain stages of human evolutional
development that become the basis of our self-identity. These stages of human
evolution arise from the current living conditions of the people which results
in a world view that then creates a social, cultural and economic structure.
The worldview also is the basis for defining the identities and behaviors of
the people in the system. The person it defines is the person who will support
the structure, so the person and the structure are mutually reinforcing.

Since these cultural structures have values, feelings that support the
society are supported and feelings that are not are rejected.

The Emotional Values Of Spiral Dynamics

The emotional values that Spiral Dynamics identified emerged from the real living conditions of the people and their
interpretation of those living conditions which gave rise to their worldview.
Each worldview was limited by the existing knowledge and experience of the
people involved, and as we learned more was revised or discarded as new more
up-to-date world views emerged. We are a work in progress.

This table is a very simplified view to give an idea of how identities and strategies are related to the stage of human development and evolutional thinking:

 
Stage Interpersonal Strategy
Tribal appease: individual participates in tribal life to
appease spirits
Conquest dominate: exploit, act egocentrically
Religious control: authoritarian, demands total obedience
and conformity
Entrepreneurial win: pragmatic, results oriented, achievement
oriented
Communal share: life is fluid and we are all in this
together
Chaotic open: flexible, questioning, accepting
Chaordic collaborate: interconnected and
transpersonal

Using Evolutional Thinking

Highly sensitive people are naturally attuned to more holistic views of reality.  The Graves Model is a more holistic view of human nature and be useful when trying to understand people who are different.  It is particularly beneficial for highly sensitive people who are seeking a way to handle a complex social world with greater ease and reduce their social stress and anxiety as a result.

For More Information:

Graves Theory

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Embrace Stewardship Thinking!

What is stewardship?

According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, stewardship is

the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially: the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care

There is a big difference between caring for something and caring for something entrusted to one’s care. Stewardship acknowledges that in care there is a community aspect, that we will impact someone else’s life with our care or lack thereof.

Stewardship is the antithesis of self involvement. It requires involved engagement, willingness to meet all of nature and life on its own terms. As a result, stewardship is a way to make choices that serve everyone without being controlling, because you are making choices with a different objective. With stewardship, you seek the choice that serves everyone and all life forms. So you are making a choice not a demand which is what most forms of management are.

What Is Stewardship Thinking?

Stewardship thinking lets us bring the spirit of friendship and goodwill to the way we handle what is in front of us. It is a way of thinking that recognizes that choices have impact beyond immediate considerations. Its primary value is quality of life both in the short-term and long-term. It does not devalue the long-term to serve short-term considerations.

One of the wonderful things about stewardship thinking is that it respects our history and the contributions of our ancestors whose work has created the infrastructure that supports us. So stewardship thinking respects what it has taken for us to get this far and therefore does not unnecessarily sacrifice the future for present short-sightedness. Stewardship and stewardship thinking are the antithesis of exploitation.

The Relationship Between Stewardship And Values

By placing the values of friendship and goodwill above results, people who operate on a stewardship basis have a better chance of achieving positive outcomes:

  • because there is no adversity in stewardship, only the next step
  • because all life and life forms matter and support each other so decisions and choices need to do the same
  • because in creating a healthy present a healthy future becomes possible
  • because outcomes are the result of processes that are created to support values. Values are the first priority, everything stems from them.

Stewardship thinking sees the interdependence of all things, and so is not in a rush to do harm in any way, since to do so affects the quality of the interdependent web of life. It does not place humans at the center of the universe, it places us as one of many species on our planet. It does not make one life more important than another; it seeks to value all living creatures and looks for ways to positively affect the living of all creatures.

The Benefit Of Stewardship Thinking

There is no in and no out. Everything and all are in – as a result there are no games. There is no one to reject and no fear of rejection. Stewardship in seeking quality of life sets a high standard for decision-making.

Stewardship thinking is holistic so it has space for anyone to contribute to quality of life. Since we all benefit from anyone’s contribution to our well-being, all contributions can be welcome. Since all contributions are welcome and all living creatures matter the spirit of cooperation reigns and there is little need for one upmanship, and power plays.

Stewardship thinking gets rid of the fear that plagues most lives and replaces it with a natural feeling regard that makes everything simpler. If love, as many wise people say, is our natural state, stewardship thinking is our natural way of operating.