The World Needs More Over-Thinkers.
Thinking has gotten a bad rap. If you do a lot of it, which you know you do, you’re called an over-thinker. And that’s something you’re supposed to avoid.
I know a lot of over-thinkers. Some of my best friends are over-thinkers. They’re smart, sensitive, intense, analytical, creative, intuitive and empathetic. They’re known by other names: geek, nerd, bookworm, know-it-all, weirdo. They’re described as arrogant, dramatic and obsessive. They’re told to slow down, settle down and dumb down. To stop being so sensitive, so verbal, so curious, so demanding.
To lower their too high standards.
Sound familiar? Could you be an over-thinker?
Personally, I know people who are under-thinkers. I bet you do too. Don’t you just wish those under-thinkers would over-think once in a while? I know I do.
Granted, you can think so much that you get super-anxious. You can think so much that you forget to take the meatloaf out of the oven. You can think so much that you don’t score well on multiple-choice tests because you can explain why all of the choices are correct. You can think so much that you never finish painting your bedroom. You can think so much that you fail Meditation 101.
You can think so much that you don’t have time to sleep. You can think so much that you can’t make a decision. You can think so much that you forget to tie your shoes.
Too much thinking can become a problem. We know this.
But, honey, you’re kinda stuck with it. It’s how your brain works. Your big brain is very, very active. All of the time. So, for you, it’s not over-thinking. It’s just thinking. Or being. It’s curiosity. Analysis. Wondering. Creating. It’s the quest for the Holy Grail.
It’s you being you.
And yet, your colleagues, friends, relatives, partners, teachers, therapists and maybe even your children would like you to stop thinking so much.
Yeah. I get it.
And maybe you also tell yourself to stop thinking so much.
I think you need to rethink thinking.
Here’s one way to think about it. Consider that over-thinkers are just people with rainforest minds. People wired to think a lot, to feel a lot, to know a lot. Like the rainforest, they’re intense, complex, full of mosquitoes (life), colorful, and creative. Like the rainforest, they are misunderstood and cut down. Like the rainforest, they can make a significant difference for the planet if they’re allowed to flourish.
How does that sound?
You’re actually not really an over-thinker or a weirdo. You’re a person with a rainforest mind.
That said, of course, you will want to learn to soothe yourself when your rainforest-y thoughts turn into anxiety or paralysis or sleeplessness. You’ll want to learn how to take multiple-choice tests. You’ll want to know how to choose a color for your bedroom so you can finally finish painting the walls. You’ll want to practice communicating with under-thinkers.
But don’t stop thinking, wondering, creating, and analyzing.
Seeking the holy.
Don’t stop being you.
Paula Prober is a psychotherapist, blogger, author, over-thinker and tango dancer living in Eugene, Oregon. She blogs at Your Rainforest Mind and writes about mental, emotional and spiritual health for geeks, creatives and know-it-alls in her book Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth.