Overthinking Joy to Death

Something really weird is going on.

As context: I have a tendency, on average and below average days, toward overthinking things. I have an idea about changing something, say scheduling a trip to visit a friend. I’ll start by gathering some info (my M.O.) and then I think, and think, and think, and think, and often I think about whether or not I SHOULD do it (I keep encountering the role this word has played in my life) for long enough to either lose interest or be distracted by some more pressing concern, like what I ‘m going to make for dinner, or why my calendar is blowing up. I overthink my intuitive urges to death.

slide2Right now, though? I assume it’s because I don’t have the emotional energy for the overthinking part, but maybe it’s because I’ve unchosen SHOULD for 2017. Either way I just don’t seem to be going there in the same way. There’s been a lot more action, albeit it slow and gentle. I have a notion about something and maybe I gather some info, but mostly I do something about it. And you know what? Things are SO much better. Even in this time of sloth paced engagement, I am making more important strides than I have in months. I feel more able to see a desirable path in front of me. I am more clear about what needs to happen next and I’m more willing to see where that leads. And all of THAT is adding the hope and joy that I need to weather this loss.

It makes me wonder what all that overthinking was doing for me. Was it simply “the furies” (thank you Martha Beck) keeping me in the safety of the status quo by asking the same questions over and over until the interest in change naturally withers because the questions are so annoying? Was it a lack of clarity on my part that kept me from simply making the call “yes” or “no,” instead taking the non-choice which we all know is a choice? It is clear now, in retrospect, that the overthinking is both a time suck and a distraction that has kept me from taking steps I really do want to take, from scheduling fun things I really do want to do, from taking risks that could add joy and adventure and growth to my already pretty great life.

I know the shortcut around this overthinking, and it is staying in touch with myself. When I have a notion, checking it internally with greater vigor than I vet it in a spreadsheet. Does this mean I don’t, say, investigate prices and make adult decisions based on that? No, but it does mean that if I really DO feel that want, I don’t dismiss the idea by allowing it to wither through lack of love and attention. I don’t simply make it seem impossible. The information gathering then becomes details that need to be addressed in order to make it happen rather than a series of obstacles. Prices, logistical details, childcare realities become problems to solve rather than barriers.

slide1What do you do when you have an unexpected urge? When you want to take a trip or take a class or go on a road trip? What do the internal voices tell you? How do your fears keep you from grabbing a little joy or claiming some of your future? What is your overthinking buying you? What would happen if you just let go of those voices and followed the calls of your expansive and playful soul? Don’t you want to find out? I can help.

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