Updated: May 19
I've been thinking about introspection and how important it is to staying grounded. During the time my husband and I were raising 5 kids, managing careers and Lord knows what else besides the 27 pets that came and went through our doors over 20 years, we often would spend time being introspective.
Life had a way of catching up to us, whether it was personal, professional, or something emotionally off balance that we needed to come to terms with. But there we were, just doing our thing - being parents and professionals and spouses and best friends, then suddenly nothing felt better than shutting down. And when I say shutting down, I mean - NOT TALKING. When this first happened early on in our relationship, of course I asked what was wrong. This is when I first learned the term, "Just being introspective." I'm sure you'll agree this is a much better answer than, "Nothing."
Now don't get me wrong, it took me a few interludes of his introspection to get on board. It wasn't an angry time or a threatening time, and there was certainly no fear of rejection that many women feel when it seems that "something is wrong." It was just a time of respecting a partner who needed a little time to regroup because he was working through some things.
Eventually I found myself in the same place - being introspective. Usually I baked cookies during this time because it combined my two favorite things - thinking and baking. But sometimes it obviously lasted longer than one batch of oatmeal scotchies. Sometimes it lasted through a whole baking season.
Introspection was a beautiful thing as I look at it in my rear view mirror. It was critical for the healthy survival of our partnership. It was important for two people who cohabitated to respect each other's physical, mental and emotional space. It was crucial for the survival of our relationship for us to recognize that if we weren't whole as individuals we didn't stand a chance as a couple.
So the next time you or your partner seem extra quiet, give some thought to "introspection." Take some time to look inside and reflect on where you've been, where you are going and what it all means.
"Silence isn't empty, it's full of answers." -Anon