Yours is a good attitude to have: "I don't need a knight in shining armor to rescue me. I am a self-reliant woman." However, my point is that almost every woman I have ever met says the same thing -- but acts to the contrary. Secretly, many women seem to want respite, a retreat, a rescuer. (Some confess it straight out.) This is OK, because women (married or divorced with children) really do end up taking care of most of the details of family life, on top of their jobs -- and they desire to be in a real relationship more than men (who tend to desire someone to take care of their needs more than an authentic relationship and all that entails). It just throws me for a loop at first (until the truth becomes apparent) when someone says one thing but truly intends another.
You are right to see men and woman as complementary, made to complement not oppose each other. It's not just being critical of another but being dualistic instead of pluralistic: narrowing the choices down to one or the other of two, instead of two or more of many. I believe much of life is intended to be additive, yet many people see it as subtractive; as either/or instead of both. People really would be happier if they could learn to think "out of the box."
For example, Bruce Lee studied all martial arts and concluded that teaching one style or another, not only limits teacher and student to that one style, but an ever narrower, codified and soulless version of that style (when preserving "tradition" becomes more important than discovering and reinventing the soul of the style, not to mention all styles within the sport of martial arts). He eventually came to teach "No way as way; no limitation as limitation" because he sought and found the truth and the soul of martial arts wherever it was to be found, not where people said or expected it to be found. If he were a preacher, he would have been truly Christ-like: speaking against the ingrained orthodoxy of the Pharisees and telling any who had ears to hear and would pay the cost of discipleship, "Let me show you a higher way."
I call all of this being terrestrially bound vs. being celestial bound. Where are your eyes? Where are my eyes? Life is not about us without God, and faith is not about God without us; but a faithful life is about us together with God.
Yes, I think we all agree that criticizing another hurts and is bad. Amen, preach it, sister. But I think you are speaking of negative or destructive criticism, born of pettiness and mean-spiritedness. There is a constructive criticism that looks to the betterment of the other: "speak the truth in love." The word critical simply means discerning (Greek kriseis
, "to divide"). I do agree that making a negative criticism (shooting someone down) should not be allowed without a positive suggestion to replace it. That's like telling the pilot to stop flying the plane, without offering a replacement pilot; we're not enemy combatants [in a dogfight], we're all [passengers] on the same aircraft.
Risk-taking is something you will learn over time. Every choice in life has risks; some more than others. You will be prepared to take risks as you learn more about what those risks are, and about trusting your own judgment in each situation you find yourself.
There are other ways to make decisions than your own intuition, much less equating that with the leading of the Holy Spirit. There are many ways the Holy Spirit leads! Just be open to learning more ways to live and make choices, and it will gradually become apparent to you.