I recently read an article about signs that you are an “overthinker.” (Spoiler alert: I am one.) The article irritated me because it positioned overthinking as negative. It stressed that we obsess over things, overanalyze every minute of our lives, and drive those around us crazy. And, yes, I will admit that overthinking can be a bad thing and can cause all kinds of unnecessary stress and anxiety. There is no need to spend twenty minutes thinking about the way a coworker said “good morning” as they walked by. However, I also argue that not all overthinking is bad. There is an important distinction that we need to make…
Sometimes, overthinking is actually deep thinking.
So on behalf of everyone who has been told they overthink, overanalyze, or make life too complicated, I pose another way to look at it…
We want to find meaning in everything.
Yes, this means we tend to analyze the sh*t out what we say and how we say it – down to the tone of our voices, the look in our eyes, and placement of our hands. But it also means we are paying attention. We are listening. We not only care about what we are saying, but who we all are behind our words. We assume you are deep and deliberate- a person with intention- and we want to figure you out. Would you prefer that we see you as someone with no meaning behind your words and actions?
We can’t just let things go.
This one really gets to me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told some version of “You just need to let it go.” Usually that “it” is a man or a relationship. Well, we can’t let people or things go because we want to understand them. For us, there is a reason for every relationship and every interaction, and we need to know what it is. We don’t see things as happenstance, bad luck, or coincidence. We view our lives – and your life – as part of a larger scheme. There is a bigger game at play, and our relationships have purpose.
So no, we won’t let anything go until we fully understand the reason why they exist. But is seeking out the grander meaning of life such a bad thing? Is wanting to understand the things and people that matter to us on the deepest level possible so wrong?
We analyze people.
Constantly, because people are fascinating. Everyone has a story – it is special and unique to them, yet universal at the same time. If you look at anyone closely enough, you can find a connection with them. If you seek to fully understand them – how they think and why they think that way – you can always find a way to relate. And in relating, there is comfort. So yes, we are constantly analyzing you, your mother, your friends, and the person sitting at the table across from us… but that’s only because we care.
So yeah, we hate small talk.
We don’t care which shows you’re watching or how you feel about the weather. Sorry, not sorry that we want to actually get to know you. We want to know your dreams, your beliefs, your fears and your thoughts on life. We don’t want to judge you or try to change your mind; we hope to understand you. We want to share deep, meaningful conversations about who you are and why. Please explain to me why that’s a bad thing.
Bottom line – we aren’t “over” anything. We see the people and world around us as intricate and interesting. So we think, we reflect, and we analyze… a lot. Some may say that we’re “too much,” and that’s fine. But we aren’t willing to float through life and not give a sh*t about anything. We are here to root out the reasons for our relationships and learn the lessons life throws at us. As overthinkers, our days are full of mysteries to solve, connections to make, and thoughts to explore. You might look at us and think we are making life more difficult, but I argue that we are making it more meaningful.