Face Making

Artist Gwenn Seemel’s bilingual blog about art, portraiture, free culture, and feminism.

“You think too much.”

2016 . 08 . 04 - Comments / Commentaires (16)

- -—[version française]—- -

Growing up, I considered it to be the biggest insult. Mostly because, unlike all the other things that were said to me, I worried that it was a very bad thing. “You think too much.”

As I came out of my teenage years, it only got worse. I saw the insult everywhere. People didn’t have to say it anymore. It was implied. In the break up conversations with friends or boyfriends. In the way that my refusal to drink or take drugs seemed to push people’s buttons. In all the ways I failed to fit in. “You think too much.”

Then, when I was 24, a miracle happened. I found someone who thinks too much and also happens to think a lot of me. Overthinking things never felt so right, and 11 years later we still think too much together.



abstract photography

A few months ago, someone said it to me again. They actually said the words I hadn’t heard since I was 18 and being let down gently by some guy I was crushing on. I was having what I thought was a pleasant conversation, and the person just said it. And then laughed. I replied, “good talking to you” even though I didn’t feel that way, and then I excused myself.

Over the next few days, I thought about it. A lot. I probably thought too much, but I think I finally understand what the person was saying to me, what everyone who says “you think too much” really means. They’re telling me that I make them uncomfortable, and they’re trying to be polite about it.

I’m still learning that it’s okay for not everybody to like me. In some ways, I get it, but I’m not all there yet. One day, I hope to be.


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(16) Comments / Commentaires: “You think too much.”

-- libby fife -- 2016 . 08 . 04 --

Gwenn,

That’s a different take on things for me. I have gotten this comment before only people usually say that I worry too much. (What’s wrong with that anyway?) You are probably right-we probably make people uncomfortable. I suspect that when they say that we think too much, they want to stop us from being upset and from being upset themselves. As an aside, I also read an article awhile ago about people who ruminate. We are a specific personality type who can get caught in a non productive cycle of thinking and thinking.

I don’t know about you but I like examining things. Maybe not always in depth but to a degree. I feel sorry for people that don’t seem to have (or can’t express) their interior thoughts. And that inability to express makes me uncomfortable:)

Good post-thank you!
Libby

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-- Gwenn -- 2016 . 08 . 04 --

@Libby: It’s true. I sometimes think that the people who say I think too much are actually not thinking enough! But maybe it’s more that there are just different kinds of people in the world and we don’t need to all mingle.

For example, I recently spent some time around a family member who lies a lot. What I realized is that they did not see lying as wrong. Not at all. They didn’t understand that lying to me and to the other honest people around them just confused all of us. They’ve since gone back to the bosom of lies that is the other part of their family, and they’re very happy there. Because liars do fine around other liars. They just really can’t function around fundamentally honest people. It’s two cultures that don’t mix. Just like thinkers and people who don’t think too much.

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-- Carol -- 2016 . 08 . 04 --

Yes, I have heard that a lot as well. And I agree, it usually comes from people who are uncomfortable with your thoughts. But there is a balance to learn. I believe thinking IS good. It’s what we evolved humans do. But, I have also learned that “we are not our thoughts” and sometimes we do need to let some thoughts go.
I try to ask myself, in my state of contemplating: Is it true?.. Usually I can stop myself at that point!
Lol.
Love your blog my friend!!
XO

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-- Gwenn -- 2016 . 08 . 04 --

@Carol: Having a way off the merry-go-round of thinking can be so important! I like yours. <3

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-- Marcus -- 2016 . 08 . 04 --

Obviously, I can’t speak for your experience but when people have said that to me, it’s because I’ve let them in on my “stream of consciousness.” Meaning, I’ve vocalized the many and conflicting things I’m thinking without giving them a nice clear, simple answer.

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-- frederic lecut -- 2016 . 08 . 04 --

Sometimes you need to let behind you the people who believe you think too much. Everything changes, evolves, people you know at one time change, one day we look at life in one way, an other day we look at it differently. There is no reason to feel bitter about these people. They are just being themselves. Nothing lasts. And then at days, you are in good shape, you think a lot. Other days you are not, and you don’t want to think much, so you can also consider that this is the reason why they told you that. However, if they say it again and again…

I have a few good friends who think as much as I do, and a few others who don’t, but they don’t have a problem with that ! So we still are friends ! My dogs are a perfect example !

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-- Gwenn -- 2016 . 08 . 05 --

@Marcus: Interesting! I get it as a response to me more generally and in this case as a response to me asking questions about another artist’s work. It’s weird to me that they wouldn’t want to talk about their art, but I guess that’s not actually that unusual.

@Frédéric: It is a process of understanding that not everybody needs to like everybody else. As I said in the post, I am working on it! And one day I hope to be like a dog who trusts her own instincts about people and doesn’t worry about not being liked. smile

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-- Carol -- 2016 . 08 . 05 --

Oh yes. Now I understand. In art, people say ‘you think too much’... Yes, I hear that too and I must say, that when I am more spontaneous and not think about my piece, and I just go with the ” flow” somehow, they turn out better, in their own way, and I have sold more of those pieces than the ones that are more ” thought out”....
Does that make sense Gwenn?
Either way, thought is good. Good thoughts anyway!!!
Lol.

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-- Gwenn -- 2016 . 08 . 05 --

@Carol: I don’t usually have trouble turning off my brain to make art—or that’s what it feels like anyway! It’s why I love making art. I get to go into that flow space. Maybe when people tell me I think too much I should just banish myself to my studio! smile

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-- Carol -- 2016 . 08 . 05 --

Lol. Yes. That sounds like a great idea.
Maybe I’m the one who totally thinks too much!
😂😂😂
Lessons learned.
Keep well my friend and keep inspiring!!!

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-- Barbara -- 2016 . 08 . 09 --

I’ve been told not only that, but also that I use complicated words (meaning: words they don’t know the meaning of) and a lot of things like that.

I think when someone tells you that IS about feeling uncomfortable, but only because your thinking too much leaves their thinking too little in the spotlight. And THAT is what makes them uncomfortable. Then, the system creates a “cool” culture about it (that thinking too little is cool and thinking -to some degree- is nerdy and bad), and it gives people permission to point their finger at you instead of feeling bad themselves. AND they don’t have to THINK about it! LOL

Anyway, I don’t think it’s their fault. I think it’s the system, that dumbs people down and try to make those who won’t feel bad, so they try to “think less” so they can fit (we’re gregarious after all, and there’s no escaping that). But that’s for another looong conversation.

Sorry if I didn’t explain myself very well. English isn’t my native language.

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-- Gwenn -- 2016 . 08 . 09 --

@Barbara: You explained yourself perfectly, and I agree with you completely about a strange culture of praising simplicity. Not true simplicity, but an affected kind that is extremely disturbing. Very good point!

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-- Christine -- 2018 . 06 . 06 --

I hear this often! I used to think it was a problem (pun intended) then I realized it can be a superpower. Yes, sometimes I think too much about the wrong thing…as in spending my energy in the wrong place, but Thinkers solve problems, discover things, and are naturally skeptical.

I’ve found the same thing to be true: I’m just making them uncomfortable. I like talking about deep subjects, weird subjects, and even feelings. I’m willing to go places others are not. I’m willing to questions my own beliefs. I’ve learned that many people are not comfortable with this! I’m still working on the “not everyone will like me” part.

One day I was talking about this with a family member and they said they like to do what they are told, to follow the Bible, and not think too much. I realized at that moment where we were fundamentally different people. To each their own, but I like thinking too much. Now, if I could just stop caring what people think of me…

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-- Gwenn -- 2018 . 06 . 06 --

@Christine: Interesting! A few years ago, a friend of mine did an informal kind of survey of the Myers-Briggs designation of the people in his life. He concluded that there are people that he calls lubricant people. (I don’t remember the Myers-Briggs designation they have, because I don’t know much about the test.) The role of the lubricant people is to keep the cogs of society moving forward. Their experience of the world is narrow and superficial, and they like it. It makes unthoughtful people more palatable to me when I think of them as helping society in some way, but I admit that they still make me sad. And I wonder if they’re actually helping…

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-- Linda Ursin -- 2018 . 06 . 06 --

I’ve been told I’m too much in many ways but I don’t let those comments affect me anymore smile

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-- Gwenn -- 2018 . 06 . 08 --

@Linda: That’s a good way to be!

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