Thoughts are as duplicitous as flames. They fuel and ignite you, but they can also consume you. Too many thoughts become a raging forest fire, wreaking havoc on your carefully constructed mind eco-system. The structures so elegantly crafted with wood and nails of logic and caution–here is what I will eat today, here is what I will do today, here is who I will text today–are no match for the orange anxiety, white-blue longing, yellow fear, red despair that voraciously licks up oxygen.
Being consumed by flames isn’t great. It is painful, even metaphorically. Joan of Arc, today, is burned in effigy for expecting him to respect and call her after a deep and meaningful conversation that led to sex.
But then again… what is the alternative? Never taking risks? Staying cool at all costs? Never revealing yourself? Reining in your intensity?
Overthinking is often berated. “Don’t overthink it,” or “just chill,” or “be cool,” all mean to suggest that this constant analysis and emotion are bad. Embarrassing. Awkward.
I beg to differ. I’d like to suggest that having intense, heated, passionate feelings and discussions should be back in vogue.
Take relationships, for instance. It’s not cool to be intense or overthink things, but this takes away so much depth and beauty. It is a shame.
Why do we scoff at intensity? Perhaps: social anxiety in a society that favors the chill, the awkwardness of an unliked post, the mistaken notion that people are easily replaceable mobile-optimized snaps… and, yes, the fear of loneliness, rejection, heartbreak. Valid reasons, all. It is still a shame.
So what can be done? Suck the oxygen out of the room? Extinguish the flames? Pour sand on the thoughts?
No. Embrace the bonfire. Feel the heat. Appreciate the growth and abundance that follows. Learn to understand that you can ignite and survive. Seek out the things that will take you there–the intimidating people, the strong words, the risky adventures.
Sadness gives depth; happiness gives height. Growth happens in both directions, and this is part of the balance of the universe. If you accept the fierceness of negative emotions, you open yourself up to a wealth of positive emotions.