When Being Insightful Feels Exhausting
Taking a 'hunter' approach to being an introspective person can start to feel exhausting. But what if there's a better way?
As highly self-aware introspective people, we’re really good at noticing when something feels ‘off’ or ‘not quite right’ – and so often, our impulse is to move immediately into Detective Mode.
I’ve been talking a little bit about my own personal experience with this phenomenon over on Instagram this week – and it turns out, many of you can totally relate! (It’s always so comforting to be reassured of those things.)
Over the summer, I was working on some really fun projects: I was redesigning my website plus another website for my good friend Amanda, plus I was creating the Stand Your Ground self-guided quiz and the accompanying workbook. And having a few well-defined creative projects on my plated helped me find this fantastic rhythm. I was scratching my ongoing creativity itch. I was feeling focused, engaged, and energized. I was being super intentional about my time. I felt accountable to my deadlines, and motivated to keep moving forward.
But then, the projects wrapped up and went live… and that sizzle of inspiration I’d been feeling suddenly went flat. And then I started noticing that same deflated feeling creep into other areas of my life – areas that had been surging and giving me energy until then.
So what did that mean? And more importantly, how do I fix it?
Not surprisingly, I did what I almost always do. I zeroed in on those questions and started analyzing them to death. My natural-instincts to introspect, analyze, and reflect kicked into overdrive. I clamped down on those questions in my mind with focus and intensity, hellbent on finding that lightning bolt of clarity. I just had to keep digging and searching and digging and searching until I found the answers… right?
You’ve probably heard all your life how astute and perceptive you are – and that’s such an amazing gift. But let’s be honest, sometimes being that insightful and introspective can be exhausting.
While it may feel like it comes (somewhat) naturally, doing the self-work to be introspective is no joke, and it uses up a lot of mental and emotional energy. That’s not to say the payoff isn’t big, because it sure can be. That insight into ourselves and sometimes even our relationships with the people we love is what lets us make thoughtful choices, say what we mean, start the right conversations, and find solutions when things feel off.
But if we’re exhausting ourselves along the way, is it worth it?
The thing I’ve started to realize lately is that being in touch and in sync with myself doesn’t have to feel like grueling work. Without realizing it, I seem to regularly approach my relationship with myself like construction worker eager to dig with fervor and build new infrastructure, even if it means doing back-breaking labor. Or sometimes it's more like an investigator, who exhaustively hunts for new information, to be be able to connect the dots and make sense of it all. But that kind of intensity just leads to burnout.
When it comes to insight and introspection, I think our natural impulse is to dive in and search for answers with such intensity that we burn out. But instead of taking on the role of Hunter, what if we saw ourselves more as an antenna, ready to receive information?
I’ve been trying this approach for the last week or two, and I have to say... for such a simple mental shift, the difference is huge. Imagine this: when something feels off, you notice the natural questions that pop up – What’s not working? What does it mean? What kind of person am I? What’s the solution? – but instead of gripping them so tightly and mentally wringing them out in search of answers, you allow them to be a mental lightning rod. You put up that antenna in your mind, and reassure yourself that you’re now ready to receive information as it comes.
You’re no longer desperately searching for the fix; you’re playing an active role in letting it come to you, and being ready to receive it.
For me, that simple shift literally makes me breathe easier. It feels lighter, and less stressful than being on the prowl for a solution. It’s the thing that allows me to take a breath, and move forward with my day/week/life, with that quiet whisper of reassurance that says, “You’ll get there. It’ll come.”
If we can decide to release the impulse to frantically search for answers, and choose to trust that we’re ready and able to receive the information we need as it presents itself, that could be all we need to move forward feeling relieved and reassured that a solution will come.