The Itch to Solve a Puzzle

When the desire to solve every problem, becomes the biggest problem

Afifa Zaheer
3 min readSep 28, 2021

I recently visited my doctor, and the first thing he asked me was, “have you stopped overthinking since our last meeting?”

“Oh boy, have I?” I whispered to myself.

With fingers locked together, I told him that I have been trying to manage the overthinking but I still feel the need to perfect everything.

“What makes you feel like that?” He asked inquisitively.

To aim for betterment in life or perhaps feel accomplished to the best of my abilities. To feel that even though life has been bombarding me with interruptions that I absolutely hate; I am still able to perfect other aspects of my life.

“I am sure you have heard about this multiple times, but perfection is an illusion created in our minds. So, let me ask you this, what is one thing that comes to you naturally?”

“Writing” I mutter.

“Then no matter how many times you rewrite a draft, you will continue to find flaws in it. Those mistakes may not be grammatical, they might be related to a theme, the way you have structured the story or the way your characters have come out to be. In conclusion, the more you attempt to perfect it, the more you will end up corrupting it’s authenticity.”

His words triggered a memory in my brain. He was right.

The best pieces I wrote were not intended to be perfected. Those pieces were results of spur of the moments. No doubt I went over those pieces at least once to make sure I did not make any spelling mistakes. But I did not overwhelm myself with rewriting them constantly. And those pieces received recognition than many others that I had spent days writing.

There are moments when it seems almost impossible to let things be. This “itch” inside the brain to overthink about every little detail is so dominant. I observe how people act around me, and even the slightest of change in their attitude activates the worst thoughts in me. I begin to revisit moments, instances and conversations; looking for a clue that would tell me as to what could have possibly changed their behavior towards me. I try to convince myself that it is not related to me at all but the cells in my brain keep pressing the idea that I am at fault. That whatever is happening with around me, is a consequence of my actions or words. People are angry because of me.

To avoid such feelings, I try to please every person in my life. So, many times I find myself incapable of saying “no”

I believe all of us are guilty of feeling this way. We all demand reassurance in some form. A part of us years to be loved, understood, praised, recognized and appreciated. But that is not how it always turns out. The part of being human is that you will not be able to satisfy everyone. There will always be that one person who dislikes you for no apparent reason.

So what do you do then? How do you live with such flaws and imperfect toons in your life?

I guess this lesson is learnt through pain and acceptance. The pain of accepting that this life will never be perfect. It will never achieve the flawless news one desires. But it will forever provide you with so many other things to be thankful for.



Afifa Zaheer

Writer | Poetess | Financial Consultant. A South-Asian Woman Mastering the Art of Metamorphosis as an Immigrant.