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Day 74: I am an over thinker

December 27, 2023

Am I though?

Who decides how much thinking is too much?

Is there a right amount?

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“It’s not what they call you. It’s what you answer to”

W C Fields

Any statement that starts with “I am” is a statement we weave into our identities. We have to be careful about the labels we accept.

Our labels are things we think are bad or good about ourselves and, either way, we tend to see them as fixed.

It’s rare for us to question them even when they limit us or make us miserable.

My status as an overthinker is one I’ve been embarrassed about. It’s something I see as “annoying” or “irritating” to other people. 

“Just let it go, for God’s sake!” I imagine them thinking.

But this morning, I thought about how much I like thinking! I like delving into things that interest me and I like geeking out on subjects that fascinate me. I like that I spend hours thinking about how I might approach a situation more intentionally or how I might be more influential as a parent or within my work. 

The other day, in a meeting with a group of coaches who trained with me, a fellow coach asked for advice on how to help her client progress past something that was keeping her stuck, and I offered some thoughts. Our mentor said, “Natalie, I want you to know that every time you offer your thoughts, you are so insightful. You see so much that might otherwise be missed. I just want you to know that.” 

She’s not the first person to tell me this. I’ve had coaches from the group contact me on a one-to-one basis to ask for my thoughts because they’ve noticed the same thing. I have clients who say this after I help them find patterns inside themselves that they couldn’t see on their own. 

I don’t think any of this would be possible without “over-thinking”. 

What does this have to do with joy?

There is so little joy to be found in judgement – of self or others. 

It’s basically the circuit breaker in relationships – and since every relationship we have in our lives is a reflection of the relationship we have with ourselves, it stands to reason that releasing self-judgement is the first step in releasing judgement of others.

In my experience, this happens in layers rather than all at once, but again, that’s part of joyful living – finding comfort in the mess and not needing it to be any other way.

My ability to express joy increases each time I fold one of these (seemingly unloveable) parts of myself into the “parts I’m willing to accept” list.

I suspect I have a LOOOOOOOOOONG way to go with this. I suspect true expression of joy doesn’t require anything of anybody but I’m not there yet.

I guess that’s something else I have to accept.

What do you judge yourself for?

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