Why do we not make the time for introspection, for those who have it? Many find other ways to address deeper issues: find social activities to mask with, or addictive substances. Or maybe they look to their partner/friends for talk therapy. Even still, these people may have your best interest at heart, but THEY are not YOU. Only you know how you feel, and what is occurring in your mind. They may THINK they know, but unless you’re 100% completely honest and vulnerable, there will be things which you need to face and be honest with yourself about, so you can address yourself.
I think many individuals when they’re sad, or confused, or lost, just reach to friends for advice and trust their friends opinion. Which is fine, and I don’t think it’s completely wrong. The issue I do see with it is when the person seeking advice just takes in the information without truly analyzing what THEY think is the best scenario according to their values. Only then, should they seek advice from others and weigh the differences. If you live your life resolving issues solely through the lens of all your peers, are you truly taking care of YOUR dilemmas? Or are you pawning them off to seek advice from other people and just accepting their move as to how you should behave. If you think their advice is good and it is something you would feel resonates with how you’d handle a situation, by all means carry on. But if what they say persuades you to act in a manner which doesn’t feel right, maybe it isn’t.
Society make us have to hide our emotional issues and put a smile on. What if at work you could complain and tell everyone what was making you sad, what was making you anxious and what you were excited about? Lunch conversations would go to a whole different level. It would begin to get vulnerable and uncomfortable at first, but then incredibly human. And we wouldn’t see each other as being “crazy” or “neurotic” because we would begin to see how alike and similar we all actually are with a slight degree of neurosis. Then we wouldn’t feel bad about ourselves for being slightly crazy because guess what? Your coworkers and friends are all slightly “crazy” too. And instead of living in a society where we think, “I am sad, and so and so has his/her whole life together.. Why can’t I be like that?” We would actually diminish the amount of social comparison and be able to feel empathy for one another.
I think we are slowly starting to shift towards this, however it’s still incredibly uncommon. Emotions can get messy and showing your “baggage” on social media or in real life can be a turn off. As soon as someone complains about stress or an emotional circumstance at lunch, people shut down because it gets awkward and uncomfortable to talk about…. Because it DOESN’T get talked about. And as much as it can be draining to listen to others talk about stressful/sad/anxious topics… Maybe we wouldn’t have such a high degree of these types of feelings if we didn’t have to bottle them up and could actually share them to make it a more comfortable experience.
I think some of the most happy (according to how they project themselves and interact) people I know, are the ones who are honest and can be at peace with their feelings. These individuals know they can acknowledge their feelings but don’t have to choose to identify with them all. You define you. You can be aware of emotions, but they are ever evolving. And you must choose, which ones will you rule or which ones will rule over you?
I also think the reason we reach to talk therapy rather than introspective moments are because it’s comfortable to be around friends or a partner for discussion. You seek comfort in them, and look to them for support. But if you got yourself into a situation, I believe you have the power to get yourself out. You must ponder where the feelings are stemming from. It will be uncomfortable but you have to face it and figure out the truth for yourself, then, and only then, will you see what the solution may be.
Talk therapy is great and I definitely see it as beneficial and necessary. But I think the power of introspection is critical for personal growth, too. For those who don’t have much time for introspection, manage your schedule and find where there are moments in which you could incorporate it. In the shower, while driving, even going to the bath room. These small moments could be where you have time to just briefly run through what is making you sad, anxious or excited. Honing into this even temporarily can at least get your mind going, which you can come back to later. It’s a great tool, and I would say necessary in life.
Know your worth and know yourself.
Stay curious, stay creative, stay hungry.