Do you know what the problem with thoughtful people is? We think too much for our own good.
See, thoughtful people can be great people to be around – because thoughtful people do think deeply, and they are people who are considerate of other people. That makes them nice to be around.
But it's not always so great to be a thoughtful person. Life inside the skull of a thoughtful person isn't always the best fun.
Because thoughtful people tend to think about pretty much everything – except how they can be kind to themselves.
(“Wash your mouth out, Annie. Pouring yourself a cup of the milk of human kindness goes against the grain, the rules, and – quite probably – the Immutable Laws of the Universe.”
“Bah! Humbug!” say I.)
Let's be clear and open for a moment – after all, this is just between us: thoughtful people have been known to focus on the wrong things. The exact wrong things.
When something goes wrong, what do thoughtful people think?
“How am I to blame for this?”
That's a great question... if you want to give yourself a hard time. Otherwise, it stinks.
It isn’t even a 'learning' question. You won't learn very much of any use from the answer. Maybe you start from the premise that it probably must be your fault (yes, I know that probably must aren't words that should sit well together, yet that is the way that a lot of us end up thinking, unawares. In which case, you aren't going to come up with much that will help you to move forward with the self-belief you deserve.
And you're certainly not being kind to yourself.
So, how do you move forward from there?
How about becoming a little more mindful, and rather less thoughtful.
It's good to think – deeply, if you must - about specific issues; like the best way to get a concrete task accomplished. But there's not much to be said for thinking deeply – especially thinking deeply, repeatedly- about your emotional state.
Our own emotional states fare better when they are managed rather than thought deeply about.
Most of the clients I work with get stuck not because things are so bad – although sometimes things are quite bad – but because they hit a road-block in their thinking. And like one of those battery-driven toys – or an inefficient robot vacuum cleaner – they keep banging up against the same old obstacle, instead of changing course.
Thoughtful people don't think as much as they could about the benefits of resetting their course.
Think Sat Nav if you will. Sometimes, you have to change your route in order to get to your destination. Unless you happen to like hold-ups, and traffic black-spots. And who does?
Thoughtful people can easily get stuck at the emotional traffic black-spots, because they don't realize they can just change course.
There's no shame in that.
Actually, there's often a lot of merit in it.
If you're a thoughtful person, and you've been hitting your head against the same (type of) obstacle, maybe you just need to think bigger.
Keep your eyes on your ultimate destination. It's good.
Now think about a course that will take you round the emotional traffic black-spots. There's bound to be one.
Oh, and don't sit down and cudgel your brains to do that.
That would be getting all kind of thoughtful again. In other words, you'd be falling back into the same old counter-productive thoughtful pattern.
Instead, take time out. Do nothing for a while. Or do something totally different. Or else do something mechanical that leaves quite a lot of your brain to roam free and allow new ideas to pop into your head.
Do yourself a favour. Give thoughtful a rest, and allow playful, or creative, to take centre stage instead.
And you might as well prepare for some better results. You'll surely get them.