What! Not Why?(Insight vs. Introspect)

Introverts are experts at self reflection. We spend our lives in the deep end of the pool with our thoughts, swimming around and checking it all out. Sometimes we gain insight – a better understanding of ourselves. Sometimes we can end up wallowing in feelings –  drowning in over-analysis.

This is not to say introverts are self centered, we simply are more at ease in our internal world – it is our comfort zone. But no matter whether you are introverted or extroverted you are bound to have times in your life when introspect is necessary or recommended.

In fact, these days, the younger generations are increasingly encouraged to spend more time examining their feelings. More people than ever are participating in some activity, class, or counseling telling them to examine their feelings – specifically the why of their feelings – introspect.

Life challenges cause us feelings of grief, depression, self doubt and loss of self esteem – common reasons we find cause to delve or sink into a periods of introspect. We may, at some point, find ourself in a counselor’s chair ruminating over how and why we feel a certain way.

But the benefits of examining our how’s and why’s are limited. Introspect, to me, can become a toxic bath if we stay in it, soaking for too long.

When life starts crashing down around us, we may get stuck in a funk or even deep depression. The feelings drag us down and we sink under the emotional waters and start fumbling around – soul searching – and come up with a fistful of slippery feelings. We throw them on the table, spread them out in front of us. It’s time to pick each one apart, going deeper and deeper into the why’s. We are soaking, absorbing and getting logged like a sponge. The impact of this hyper-focus of how we feel and why we feel this way is like viewing a virus under a magnifying glass. Simply put, it becomes even bigger than ever before. Scarier to the eyes, more depressing, overwhelming, and we begin to wonder how we can ever overcome it.

We become so overly aware of how fucked up we feel – we don’t know how we are functioning at all. I’ve been there, stumbling around in a fog of self obsessing feelings and the why’s of their existence. Suddenly finding I’m not only down, but a victim of all the reasons why.

Introspect on steroids – It’s not only a downer but does not provide any valuable insight into what is going on. We don’t gain real resolutions from the why. We become absorbed with our feelings and yet detached from everything else.

We can’t deal.

Help is out there, but it is not always the sort we need.

A bad psychologist will keep you focusing and hashing over these emotional limitations you are experiencing, for months or years. We stay in the negativity zone, examining all that’s wrong with our mental health.

Need I mention it’s how they make money?

A good psychologist won’t keep you there for long.

If we can learn to look at what we are experiencing, we would gain much more power over ourselves, our emotions and discover a quicker road to feeling better, empowering us. We gain self-awareness by holding still and thinking logically about what we are involved in and what is happening around us.

When you begin to ask what is going on to make us feel bad we can break down and identify individual aspects of our lives that need attention and solutions. We can become proactive in problem solving in our lives.

Instead of focusing on how depressed we are and digging tunnels to places of blame, we might see factors affecting our ability to move forward. Perhaps we start to realize we are exhausted from our overwhelming schedules, between work and responsibilities at home. We suffer exhaustion and stress from trying to do too much. We don’t need to blame the kids for all the after school activities or the perceived laziness of our spouse as the why’s of our depression. Not helpful.

We need to realize changes are necessary –  slow down, get organized or get help. By using logic and positive action, we can see hope once we understand what the real problems are. We find a starting point for improvement. We become aware instead if drowned.

When we are then thinking in terms of positive action, we pick up the true tool for feeling better.

Dwelling, in introspect of negative feelings too long never creates resolutions. It keeps us locked in the past, stuck in a place of pain.

We can learn to acknowledge our feelings, even allow them to linger for a short time and consider the why’s – but not give them power over us.

A peaceful mind is one of emotional intelligence. The more we can recognize and control our emotions judiciously, the happier we will become.

The natural state of the human spirit is to survive and thrive. We must rise and the only way we can do this is by taking positive actions to help ourselves through understanding and action. Even if we can only take tiny steps – every bit of progress forward is a triumph.


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