Intellectualizing

From The Big Bang Theory episode “The Rhinitis Revelation”:

Amy: Sheldon, we’re all animals. And granted, there are aspects of you that are extraordinary, but when it comes to emotions and relationships, you’re just like everybody else.

Sheldon: Are you trying to suggest that my emotional problems are no different than those of a stupid person?

Amy: Actually, some research indicates that by not over-thinking, the less intelligent handle emotions better.

Now, with this quote I am in NO WAY suggesting that people who handle emotions better are less intelligent than those who don’t. I honestly don’t know what the research says about that.

I do like this quote, however, for two reasons:

  1. It’s a good reminder that everyone experiences emotions and it is normal to get emotional and upset
  2. It directly speaks to my problem of “intellectualizing” and overthinking things

I think number one is pretty self explanatory.  I know a lot of people, including myself, who think of emotions as messy and uncomfortable, and get embarrassed when emotional. I know I hate to cry in front of people. However, as Amy reminds us, having emotions are part of being an animal (trust me, my cats definitely have emotions too). It is ok to have emotions and cry and be “messy.”

As for number two, I think that because I am uncomfortable with emotions, I tend to over think things rather than feel them.  For example, instead of just saying “I feel anxious,” and letting myself experience that emotion, I tend to rationalize all of the reasons why I might feel anxious, or why I should/shouldn’t feel that way. The rationalization then leads to judging myself and feeling guilty on top of everything else. I am working on allowing myself to just feel emotions, rather than think my way through them, but it is definitely a work in progress.

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