in·tro·spec·tion – noun – Observation or examination of one’s own mental and emotional state, mental processes, etc.; the act of looking within oneself.
Introspection is both good and bad. It’s good because it can show you a lot about yourself: the reasons you do and say the things you do. At the same time it’s bad, because most of us are our own worst critics. And for those who’re blessed/cursed with really good memory functions (yes, I’m raising my hand on this one), it’s often particularly harrowing to go inside yourself and lay bare your actions and emotions. It’s easy to get caught in an endless loop of “what if” and “why did/n’t I”…and can be very difficult to break out of.
I don’t have expensive letters after my name that qualify me to tell you how to deal with introspection and whatever effects it has on you. I’m not even going to give you a pop psych armchair version. Indeed, I’m in the middle of my personal introspective hell at the moment, and this is an attempt at breaking the feedback loop I’ve gotten myself into. If something resonates with you, great. If not, that’s OK too. To each their own.
Introspection and feedback loops
Over the years, introspection has shown me one of my biggest failings: I have an inordinately hard time forgiving myself for mistakes I make. I am MUCH harder on myself than anyone else is, and I don’t always rebound by focusing on the positive side of what I’ve learned from said mistakes. This is a huge problem…one I work on overcoming every. single. day. I have figured out that my perfectionist tendencies and my sense of self-worth are part of this tangled mess…which is a starting point, I guess, although definitely not a comfortable one. But then, my introspective moments are seldom about the easy stuff.
Breaking the loop: Reinforce the positive
I have taken away some positive realizations from my introspective moments; the kind that give me the warm fuzzies while making me feel truly humble at the same time.
I’ve been given opportunities to do things that are out of reach for many other people. Some instances that come readily to mind are working on race cars at local short tracks; starting to hone my musical talent and skills at a very young age; breaking into my current field of employment with absolutely no background in it whatsoever, but willing and eager to learn.
I’ve earned the friendship and caring of some wonderful people; the kind that even though you don’t see each other very often anymore, you know they’ll be there for you through good and bad. For that privilege I’m forever thankful, because these are the people who help me stay grounded and sane when my world spins out of control.
I’ve been blessed with parents who nurtured me; supported me even through less-than-ideal decisions; and who still encourage me to make bolder choices, to step out of my comfort zone and make a splash in this big ol’ world. Grazie. I don’t have words adequate to telling you how much you mean to me.
And on that note, having brought myself back to a more positive state of mind, I’ll say adieu.