Introspection can limit how you interact with the world

campus editor


The widespread belief that introspection is the key to healing is misguided. In reality, overanalysis often leads to more neurosis.

Self-awareness exists on a spectrum. On one end, there is obliviousness to one’s actions and on the other, there is hyper-awareness. Both of these distance you from the world and limit what it can offer you. 

Introspection can be an important and helpful tool, to an extent. However, at one point, it is necessary to stop analyzing your every thought and push that energy outwards. 

It isn’t possible to be fully immersed in day-to-day life unless the idea that every action must be indicative of something greater is released. Sometimes, our actions are just us reacting to various life events the way anyone would. It doesn’t say anything about our specific character. 

If you get upset because a love interest didn’t reply to your message and it made you insecure and angry, it doesn’t mean that you’re crazy, have an anxious attachment style and borderline personality disorder. It just means that you’re part of a very common human experience. The idea that there is something to pathologize about that only isolates us from each other. 

Insecurity is a form of thinking about yourself too much. Assuming someone doesn’t like you is based on your assumptions about how you came across to them, how you look, how you talk, what you say. 

These are all assumptions that require you to think solely about yourself. In therapy, this kind of thinking is targeted with introspection to explain why you may think these things about yourself. 

Introspection can be useful. It’s a tool of control. However, we cannot control the external world, which means we can never fully control ourselves. Letting go of the importance of this control is key to being more easygoing and self-assured. 

A different way to target insecurity is to ignore things that aren’t directly said to you. Almost always, we are insecure because of imagined scenarios and assumed slights. Sticking to what is direct and solid keeps us grounded in reality.  

One way to let go of the fixation of knowing yourself is to be open to things that may change your perception of yourself. It is important to realize that self-analysis can provide insight, but it is limiting. Therefore, making it a lesser priority to practice internal reflection and instead prioritizing external action is more productive.  

The need to control who you are will only isolate you from what the world can offer you. When we recognize that we are always susceptible to change and that what we know about ourselves is not absolute is when we start to be a part of the world outside our heads.