Getting OUT of my Own Head

April 29, 2012
This is a "thought bubble". It is an...

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Do you live in your head?  I do.  Constantly.  I’ve been a watcher since I was a child.  I observe people and behaviors.  I watch the theater that happens all around me, most of the time without being a central character in the play.  I suspect this comes to a great extent from being an only child and spending the majority of my time with adults, or playing alone and being raised by conservative, non-risk taking parents.

Even when I created close friendships growing up, many of which I still have today, I’d wind up back inside my head, because they moved away for this reason or the other reason to other states.

I had never really thought about it much until I went through some couples counseling many years ago.  One of the first things the counselor pinpointed about me was that I spend a lot of time, perhaps too much time, inside my head.  This meant that I didn’t express my feelings much, I didn’t talk a lot or share a lot with my boyfriend.  Of course, part of that came from what I experienced from him when I did share in the beginning of the relationship.  I suspect those experiences reinforced my natural tendency to live in my head.

When I was struggling with too many changes in major quadrants of my life a few years ago, a second counselor, again, pointed it out to me. Being inside my head is a coping mechanism almost as much as it is a natural tendency.

So, it is something in relationships, especially with men, I think holds me back.  I am reticent to share my inner most feelings, and thoughts.  I am reticent to share my living space – not meaning to live with someone, but to just have them over and in my personal sanctuary.  I am extremely reticent to share my family.

In some ways, it has served me well.  Especially in my work life, because it’s allowed me to “see” things that others didn’t.  So, it offered me the opportunity to make contributions that were and are meaningful, because I listened and observed more than I talked and did.

It also helps me understand my surroundings and the people in them better.  People have come to me since I was a teenager for help and to talk through the things going on in their lives.  Being a watcher, and more inside my head has helped me ask the right questions at the right time because I’m constantly asking myself questions to clarify what I’m thinking and feeling.  It’s helped me be a better listener when others needed to talk.

As I travel my path, and listen to my calling – to write, to teach, to offer assistance and support – I realize I have to move more into the play.  I have to be central to the story of my own life in a more outward way, a supporting character in the story of others’ lives, and share my thoughts, my experiences, my life.  This comes with risk and requires me to get OUT of my own head.

Getting out of my head, and into my life is something I have to consciously do, because, as you can see, it doesn’t come all that naturally to me.  Knowing it about myself, and recognizing it in myself (which are two very different things) help me realize when I’m doing it.  It also helps me understand when I’ve been spending way too much time doing it.  Which I have been of late.

Do you live inside your head?  What do you do to get out of it, to engage?

Cathy Lynn

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  1. I do live inside my head.

    I tend not to express that in everyday social settings (unless with one of my maybe, oh, ten closest friends), but I write it out and share the results. That’s how and why I became a writer in the first place. Those thoughts, as odd as this will sound, have now become my salable product.

  2. As a long-time friend, I think you made an astute observation about yourself. Whatever you feel like you need to add, living a life in balance is a good goal. One I’m striving for myself right now. :)

  3. I’m glad I read this because it really hit home to me. Since I’ve graduated college my introverted side has taken over and I sit and rethink decisions and question myself. That wasn’t any fun so I decided to start making music, which has been a dream of mine for so long. I recently have found peace with my experiences by following a dream and watching it unfold.

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