When we are born, the very first thing we experience is getting a sense of who we are. We learn to coo, we learn to imitate, we learn to move, and we learn from the first people that are revealed to us. This is when we start to understand the idea of having others around and we completely skip over the possibility of being separate from anyone. Whether it is your birth parents that hold you when you cry or a complete stranger, you are not alone. This idea of togetherness defines itself as the brain matures. Despite what age we are, where we are, or who we are, we learn from others in some way, shape, or form. And in turn, we are encouraged by others, both directly and indirectly.
Why is it easier for some of us to handle and accept criticism while others can hear a single negative thought that might not even be a legitimate insult and their entire world comes crashing down? The more realistic praise we get while growing up, the less we come to need it as we mature. As someone who has done their thorough research on anxiety, please allow me to explain that people get discouraged when they don’t understand the “clear picture,” when they fear failure or attack on their ego, when they develop a negative mental attitude, when they make incorrect associations, and when they relive painful memories.
I have had debates with people who sit here and tell me that anxiety is a chemical imbalance and we are born with it. That we can’t control it and it’s not our fault. Well, that’s half true. If you have anxiety, it’s not necessarily your fault (although that’s not me giving you permission to go blame the people around you for your issues). Social anxiety is a chemical balance in your brain, but nobody is born with it. Maybe some people have a predisposition to anxiety symptoms, but that is the most that can be said on the matter. If you don’t believe me, go ask a doctor. Social anxiety is developed over time when we are led to certain circumstances that emphasize something we may not have come to terms with yet. The feeling of anxiety is a rush of two hormones in your body called adrenaline and cortisol.
Your brain is constantly creating these little (neural) pathways that consist of everything you have ever learned. In 1492, who sailed the ocean blue? What does a2 + b2 equal? What causes us to see color? Why can’t we all see color? What is your favorite outfit? Literally everything that you think becomes associated with these pathways, because they are what carries information between neurons. Have you ever considered yourself to have an odd thought process? I have, because I jump from one random idea to the next. These associations between thought, pathways, and different neuron stops are what can trigger our adrenaline and cortisol, releasing it into our system. Our thoughts are what ultimately cause anxiety.
So why do we think them? We learn from the criticism and praise that we get, but too much criticism can cause the human brain to shut down and impede learning. People, children especially, need guidance and limits. However, some people are raised with more discipline, anger, and shaming than others can even imagine. And on the same token, some people are raised with leniency, being more spoiled than many can even fathom. How do we find a balance?
I am 20 years old and have been doing research on people out of pure curiosity for a majority of my life and I don’t know about you, but I am finally sick of trying to understand why we are the way that we are. We can sit here and put all of the pieces of the puzzle together and still argue that they don’t match up. How? You can literally be staring at the final picture and complain that it doesn’t make sense.
In fact, you can make your own puzzle and in your eyes, it’s totally perfect, until some little brat skips on by and laughs at you. “What the hell is that?,” he’ll mock you. Little shit, you know damn well what it’s supposed to be.
And that is my point. What does it matter to you what I do and think with my free time? What does it matter to me why you struggle with understanding me? Before you get your pitchforks ready (or realistically, your sarcastic comments because what else are you supposed to do with your time? Find the cure to cancer?). Each and every one of us came into this world without the sense of being alone, so collectively, why don’t we just stop pushing everyone away. Or in better terms, let’s just all stop being assholes (Note: I used the term “let’s,” which, in the English language translates into “let us,” implying that the speaker is included).
I get it, we all have opinions, but why do a majority of people have to express their opinions in anything but a kind fashion?
If I want to post online about the type of guy I deserve, feel free to comment with “Who are YOU to say what type of guy you deserve?!?!?!” Seriously, go ahead. I’ll feel free to accept the fact that you don’t know what an awesome person I am. Fun fact: most people in the world don’t know each other. We don’t know what Roy21342 ate for breakfast this morning or what kind of household Guest3 grew up in. Just because some of us can handle being shit on doesn’t mean that taking royal poops on people we don’t know is acceptable. Then again, who am I to say that you’re an asshole? Who am I to have the audacity to put my thoughts and feelings into words and onto the Internet? Who am I to give you a Biology lesson that, according to the college degree I haven’t even earned yet, might not even be right?
But who are you to keep reading it? Who are we to judge anybody but ourselves?