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I have spent way too much of my life overthinking and overanalyzing things.
Thinking I could just figure myself out. Learn why I am how I am. Discover the root causes of my “issues” or things I feel I need to work on.
But it’s never worked.
Overanalyzing myself has never worked.
And it’s because it doesn’t work.
And when we try, we just become exhausted.
Our mind just jumps and bounces and races through and around and back and forth. Circling, maneuvering…just moving nonstop. But no real answers come. We don’t figure anything out.
And we end up just feeling tired and frustrated.
Overanalyzing ourselves just doesn’t work.
Our mind is the problem.
And we cannot “figure something out” through the thing that’s causing the problems.
We experience everything in this world through our own perceptions, through our conditioned, biased mind. If someone says something to us, for example, we rarely hear exactly what they are saying. We interpret their words based on our own understanding, which is filtered through our mind (which is influenced by our subconscious beliefs, fears, and past experiences).
Our mind is faulty in this sense. Impure. We never see things exactly as they are.
We cannot find answers through a faulty mechanism—because that same faulty mind is the one that is looking at things, analyzing things, when we’re trying to consciously figure something out (about ourselves). That same mind, which likes to move and think and which is influenced by our subconscious and unconscious. (And our subconscious and unconscious influence pretty much everything about the way we live our lives.)
We can’t use our conscious mind to figure out the unconscious reasons for why we behave how we behave. Our unconscious is called unconscious for a reason—we can’t see it.
So, actively trying to understand ourselves consciously doesn’t really work—at least in the way that we try to go about it through overthinking and overanalyzing.
This doesn’t mean we can’t do anything.
We can observe. Pay attention. Become aware.
In a soft, gentle, lightly-curious way.
We can watch our thoughts. We can observe how our mind works. How it bounces around, the things that trigger it, what gets it worked up, the things it’s obsessed with.
We can pay attention to how it moves. To how our body feels when those thoughts come in, how it feels when we get “triggered.” When we feel uncomfortable or angry or fearful.
Through simply observing in a light, almost passive way, we start to disidentify with those thoughts; we begin to understand that we are separate. And we create space.
Space where true awareness can arise.
Rather than try to actively analyze ourselves, we should just lightly observe what’s happening within us—from a distance. Because through this, we start to separate ourselves from those thoughts; we start to understand that we are not those thoughts—they just move through us.
True awareness just happens. It just comes to us.
We can’t force it.
The only true insights or understandings I’ve had have either come through conversations with someone else, or outside sources, or they just arose within me. They just happened. They just came to me. An insight, an understanding, a knowing. Suddenly, I could just see something. Suddenly, I just understood something, knew something, had become aware of something. Something just made sense.
But it came on its own; it arose within me.
It was never through conscious thought or force.
And the “forcing” energy of overanalyzing ourselves is self-aggressive; it’s an aggressive energy, which isn’t helpful or kind.
Awareness doesn’t come through conscious thinking; it arises on its own. It just happens.
We can create the space for it to come by being curious and open and receptive. Through wanting to become aware. Through allowing awareness to happen through us.
But the actual knowing or understanding isn’t an intellectual process; it’s not one that we can force.
And we also can’t force our minds to stop thinking either, or to stop being curious, or to stop wanting to know. It’s the nature of our minds to move, to be active, to think.
So, the best thing we can do is become acquainted with our mind—through gently observing it. Just paying attention to the thoughts that move through us.
The key is to just allow what’s happening to happen. Allow our thoughts to move through us. Allow the curiosity to arise. And to maintain some distance, some separation—to not get so attached to our thoughts that we start to actively move with them, move into them, so we don’t consciously start trying to figure things out.
We may, at times, still get pulled into them, and that’s okay. Once we notice, we can always come back to awareness, to watching, to observing.
We can’t use the mind to figure out the mind—it’s the distorted part that’s filtering our perceptions in the first place.
But we can observe our mind.
We can become aware. We can watch our thoughts and tendencies and knee-jerk reactions. We can observe what is happening within us.
We can allow awareness to arise within us and notice when it has arisen within us.
And we can always seek outward help, too.
But we need to understand this: overanalyzing ourselves doesn’t work.
It just doesn’t.