John Evans' Blog

Tag: social anxiety

If your feelings get hurt, it doesn’t mean you’re weak

by on Apr.24, 2010, under Uncategorized

So there was this Japanese guy…I must admit I don’t really know who he is, but someone retweeted something he said on Twitter, and it all got me thinking.  Here’s what he said:

Remember that no one can hurt your feelings without your cooperation and willingness.

Of course, this is completely false.

The truth is that humans are social animals.  A significant portion of the human brain is dedicated to decoding and reacting to social signals.  If someone deliberately tries to hurt your feelings, you can’t help but react to it.  It’s how you’re designed.

"Tetsuya K" seems to be advocating an "independent superman" state.  A person in this state would disregard all aspersions cast upon them.  It’s a seductive idea, because we know that any time we espouse a view or take a stand on something, there are always people willing to argue with us and denigrate us.  We all would like the ability to ignore insults.  But this goes against our basic nature.  Some people might even take Tetsuya’s view farther and say that people who allow their feelings to hurt are weak.  This is just not true.

Now, I’m not saying we should allow anyone and everyone to influence our actions.  I’m saying we should accept hurt feelings as a part of our human existence.  We’re all created as social beings, and it’s pointless to deny that.  By accepting that we can feel hurt feelings, that will let us work through them.  Having hurt feelings doesn’t mean you’re weak.  Once you accept that, then you can work on moving past those feelings and making sure they don’t prevent you from doing what you really need.

Of course, there are people who are able to withstand any sort of guilt or hurt feelings; the common term for such a state is psychopathy.

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Social anxiety

by on Aug.24, 2007, under Uncategorized

So, I felt like posting something a bit more serious than I usually post here. For some of you, who might have known me a while, this may shed more light on some things I’ve done…or not. I tend to assume everyone always understands everything, but I’ve learned that’s not always correct…

I suffer from social anxiety. The way I’ve come to understand this condition is that…Humans have an instinctive capability to fit themselves into a social hierarchy with other humans above and below them. Note that I said instinctive, this is a capability provided by the unconscious depths of the brain. It’s something monkeys do. Usually it’s not even something you notice.

That part of my brain is somehow glitched, always coming back with the same answer: My position is inferior to that of other people.

Obviously, this has disadvantages. Just as an example, it’s hard to buy groceries if you think a cashier is sneering at you! Like I said, that’s obvious and I don’t feel like going through all the depressing implications right now.

One curious fact is that there are slight advantages. For example, if I know that I’m inferior to someone, I know that they don’t care what I think. I know that I can’t insult someone, because they don’t give my words any weight. Because I can’t emotionally hurt people, I don’t really have any responsibility for their feelings. The only thing I’m responsible for is myself…they may yell at me or treat me badly, but then that’s always a possibility.

Not that I go around yelling at people; just the opposite, in fact. The few times I’ve tried to insult or argue with someone…it was either because I was completely sure of my position, or because I was just too angry to care. And it was usually with less anger than resignation…after all, it wasn’t going to have any effect.

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