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Implementing a “Half-Inch Deep” Perspective

I have said this phrase to myself until it has become my mantra. Maybe it might help you in situations where you have to remind yourself to go a “half-inch deep” in whatever you are thinking, talking, or stressing about in a given situation.

Let me explain further. Many years ago, I realized that I would go 100 feet deep into certain areas of my life. I would go “all in” and really allow myself to get fully involved. All of my attention and energy would be focused on this project, that situation, or on the lives of others. Oftentimes, I found myself getting too involved to where I ended up getting hurt. This would happen over and over again until, one day, I realized that there are circumstances where you do not necessarily need to be 100 feet deep. You can manage it at a half-inch deep and then let it go.

At work, I really wanted to perform well and get to know other people who would help me. After a while, I realized that, sometimes, people don’t have time for you and they have other agendas. Instead of feeling rejected and hurt, I started telling myself, “Chantell, just go a half-inch deep.” I could mentally feel a shift where I became less emotionally invested. It was a lifesaver for me. I am the type of person who loves to go all in with people and life, but some situations demand, or may even benefit, from less involvement.

It’s important to recognize certain situations in life, where you just decide not to commit extensive parts of yourself, whether you go 50 or even 10 feet deep. You leave it alone and walk away, realizing that you cannot make much impact or change, and it is best to just stay a half-inch deep. Then, there are situations where you go all in. The key is to know and fully understand those situations or people before you dive in and become more involved. In many cases, it takes time to identify the most efficient way to approach and handle a situation.

There are so many things that will cross your mind during the day. You may focus on people and how their personalities do not mix well with yours. Maybe you are embarrassed and devastated over being corrected by a boss. It could be a spouse or child who said something that just did not come across pleasantly to your soul. Whatever it is, you have to start realizing how to go a half-inch deep with your mind, will, and emotions before you can live out that viewpoint.

Everyone has a perspective that influences why they speak or behave the way they do, and in most cases, you may never understand the origin behind it. You just have to let it go and let God deal with it, doing your best to avoid getting so deeply invested in the situation that it completely destroys your day. Each hour of your life is very important, including the time and approach you take to handling any situation. If you let something get to you, just reevaluate the situation and how it affected you, considering why it impacted you as deeply as it did. Is it worth it to devote so much energy and attention to it? Do you need to pull out of it emotionally and consider only going a half-inch deep?

By now, maybe you are considering personal situations where you have given an overwhelming amount of effort and energy that is defeating you in the process. Perhaps you are considering adopting this approach to the circumstances in your life and your approach those around you.

Brooke, my daughter, has heard me say this so many times to her. There are times when she would seem overwhelmed or upset, and I would challenge her perspective by saying, “Brooke, maybe you’re going 100 feet deep on this and, really, it is something to consider only going a half-inch deep.” It may feel like you are spinning your wheels, or it may be a situation that is controlling you and your emotions and you need to pull yourself out and reevaluate it to see what could change.

The next time you feel yourself diving too far into a situation, take the time to evaluate how deep you have gone into it, how much energy and effort you have invested, and how overwhelming it may or may not feel. If you see a point where you need to back away, then consider it “just a half-inch deep situation” and move on from it.

This approach has helped me realize so much about myself and how I choose to spend my time. I do not waste time dwelling on impossible or emotionally draining situations that I cannot understand or change. You may not be able to apply this perspective to every situation in your life, but it is a critical viewpoint to have in your pocket to help you in those times when you may face a half-inch deep situation.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. I can so identify with this! Feeling that as a follower of Jesus, if there is an opening, I need to devote myself to those who struggle and don’t know God. Sometimes that is right- I myself so needed a godly mentor when I came to Christ as a young wife and mother. I sought them out. But sometimes, this would have saved a whole lot of overwhelm, hurt and wasted investment into a situation that was not ready for that. A seed of time and love planted is not always ours to tend all the way through to harvest! I felt responsible for the whole world. Whether in faith, community, family, work… this is a wise approach- thank you!

  2. This is a very valuable point of view for me. I like thinking 1/2 inch deep is enough. Not every situation is mine to resolve. My part may be just a whispered prayer and a smile. I will use this thought in my life and know I will have more peace.

  3. I LOVE this perspective and I’ve never really thought about it that way before. I am so like you, Chantell — always going in 100% with all I have, but I realize now that may not be such a great way of doing things. Thanks, as always, for your insightful blogs!

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