Why aren't people more introspective?
I can tell you exactly why as I sit here, my only companion a large gaping inner wound that is staring me in the face...because it hurts.
It's much easier to gloss over feelings and reactions of fear, resentment, anger, grief, depression than to carefully examine where they are coming from and why they have such a strong hold. And by where they are coming from I mean the deepest, most true source which may not even be related to the current situation.
I tend to turn my attention on my job, my kids, vacation plans, etc in order to avoid taking stock of the broken places in my life. I have gone years, decades in the past without carefully peeling back the slapped on bandages I hastily applied. But these days, I tend toward peeling off the sticky gauze and taking long hard looks hoping to discover the root of the problem.
A verse in Proverbs talks about how God searches man and knows the most true desires and thoughts of his heart. I used to think this was a warning about trying to "put one over" on God because he can't be tricked. These days I see it more as a warning not to fool ourselves. There's a lot of people walking around that don't have a clue about their own truest thoughts, desires, and realities. But God knows. And I think in many ways we can only understand ourselves by joining with God in the knowledge he has of us. He can reveal to us what's really going on in our core being and he can heal whatever wounds might be there driving us obliviously into wrong patterns of thought and action.
I've seen him do this in my life.
I'm developing a habit of introspection. It isn't easy. Henri Nouwen calls our deep inner wounds an abyss. That about sums it up. No wonder we toss things in to try and fill it up somehow without pausing to understand it or address it directly. But while it's overwhelmingly hard to do, there is healing to be had by cautiously asking God to look at the abyss with us and to slowly fill it with his presence.
And it's really the only path to true freedom. As long as we are functioning without introspection, we are slaves to our hidden selves. We don't know why we act and react the ways we do. We can't overcome compulsions and addictions without self-examination.
The big buzzword with me these days is authenticity. Usually I use it in reference to others. We need to be our true selves in our relationships. But it actually starts a step before we bring it to the lives of those around us. It starts by being authentic with ourselves.