I recently read an article about signs that you are an “overthinker.”
Spoiler alert: I am one.
The article irritated me because it positioned overthinking as a negative thing – as in we think about things more than we should. We obsess over things, overanalyze them, and drive ourselves and those around us crazy. And I will admit that yes, overthinking can be a bad thing, causing all kinds of unnecessary stress and anxiety. There is no need to spend twenty minutes thinking about the way a coworker said “good morning” as they walked by. However, I also argue that not all overthinking is bad. There is an important distinction that needs to be made…
Sometimes overthinking is actually deep thinking.
So on behalf of everyone who has been told they are overthinking, overanalyzing, or making things too complicated, I pose another way to look at it.
1. We want to find meaning in everything. Yes, this means we tend to analyze the sh*t out what you say and how you say it – down to the tone of your voice, look in your eyes, and placement of your hands. But it also means we are paying attention. We are listening. We not only care about what you are saying, but who you are behind your words. We assume you are a person who is deep and deliberate… a person with intention… and we want to figure you out. Would you prefer we see you as someone with no meaning behind your words and actions?
2. We can’t just let things go. This one really gets to me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told some version of “you just need to let it go.” Usually that “it” is referring to a man or a relationship. Well, we can’t let them go because we want to understand them. For us, there is a reason for every relationship and every interaction, and we need to know what it is. We don’t see things as happenstance, bad luck, or coincidence. We view our life – and your life – as part of a larger scheme. There is a bigger game at play… and our relationships have a purpose. So no, we won’t let anything go until we fully understand that reason. But is that such a bad thing? To seek out the grander reasons in life? To want to understand the things and people that matter to us on the deepest level possible?
3. We constantly analyze people. Constantly. Because people are fascinating. Everyone has a story – it is special and unique to them, yet universal at the same time. If you look close enough at anyone, you can find a connection point. If you seek to understand them – how they think and why they think that way – you can always find a way to relate. And in relating, there is comfort. So yes, we are constantly analyzing you, your mother, your friends, and the person sitting at the table across from us… but that’s only because we care.
4. Sure, we hate small talk. Yep. We don’t care what shows you’re watching or how you feel about the weather. Sorry not sorry that we want to actually get to know you. We want to know your dreams, your beliefs, your fears and your thoughts on life. Not so we can judge you or try to change your mind… so we can understand you; so we can discuss it with you; so we can have a meaningful conversation with you. Please explain to me how that’s a bad thing.
5. Bottom line – we aren’t “over” anything. We see the people and world around us as intricate and interesting. So we think… we reflect… we analyze… a lot. Some may say it’s too much – and that’s fine. But we aren’t here to float through life not giving a shit about anything. We are here to root out the reasons for our relationships and learn the lessons life throws at us. Our days are full of mysteries to solve, connections to make, and thoughts to explore. You might look at us and think we are making life more difficult… but I argue we are making it more meaningful.