The fact that one asks themself this question already reveals part of the answer, doesn’t it?
Honestly, this is one of my little problems. I think about things a lot. I reflect, contemplate, hypothesize, extrapolate, rewind, and fast-forward all kinds of different things in my mind. I overanalyze.
And I’m realizing – doing this takes away from the moment. From being in the present and living what is to live. I’m realizing this because I’ve been spending time with other people who don’t do these kinds of things. People who know how to forget about the things they can’t change in the future for the time being, and live in the present.
I know so many people, myself included, who have a tendency to live in their own head. It’s quite understandable – and sometimes, this process of deep analysis is very beneficial. In moments when you must look out for yourself, when you have to focus and apply yourself to a situation that requires concentration, having an active brain can do a lot of good, when it is active in the right ways. In addition, active brains sometimes develop very good coping mechanisms – ways of interpreting challenges and hardships that permit different, constructive perspectives to emerge.
There comes a point, however, when the return on your investment in thinking something through starts dropping off, and keeps dropping the more you continue to dwell on it.
It’s a bit of a paradox. This whole blog is packed with analysis and in-depth “muckraking” into the things we do and the thoughts we feel beneath the surface. I am exhorting my readers to take better control over their lives and emotions, by getting in touch with them and becoming aware of their true nature and reasons for existing. And of course, this is vital work. There is, and will always be, a time and place to get to know oneself better and become more self-aware.
Like all things, there is a balance to be achieved. Getting to know oneself and one’s needs is crucial – but trying to micromanage future outcomes, for example, is a sign that this process of reflection is no longer serving its purpose, but rather, taking away from life as it is now. The key is to learn to recognize, if your mind is indeed unquiet like mine is, when you have gone over the line – and remember to just stop. Give yourself permission – permission NOT to think and analyze for a second, and just be. And learn to trust the process.
A proverb I believe to be of Tibetan origin goes like this: “if your problem has a solution, then you don’t have to worry. If your problem has no solution, all worry will be in vain.” Although there are times when you don’t know what kind of solution, if any, does exist (which is where the desire to ponder and worry about it gets its oomph), perhaps it is wise sometimes to say, “there is very possibly a solution, but such a solution is not apparent to me now - thus, for now, there is no solution, and it’s time to just live.”