I’m An Overthinker

Overthinking is what I do best. I can and will overthink for just about anything. It is truly a problem. Are you an overthinker?

Overthinking affects our lives more than we probably would like to admit. We zero in and focus on a specific topic and think about all the possibilities. Usually, the possibilities that we think about are negative. Whether you are ruminating on the past or worrying about the future, overthinking does not benefit your life.

In fact, if you are anything like me, overthinking actually does more harm than good to your life. For me, ruminating on the past usually turns into worrying about the future. I take a thought that I’m overthinking full circle over and over again and it usually happens over multiple days, weeks, or longer.

I tend to start with ruminating on a situation that I didn’t like how I behaved. I think about how shitty I was, how embarrassing I made the situation, or how I offended or hurt someone. I go on and on until I fast forward to the future and create a whole new situation with the same people where I encounter something similar and have to re-write my behavior. I usually try to think the situation into an existence where I stand up for myself and the other person or people are put in their place. This comes from the victim mentality that I was raised with.

Lately, I’ve been able to catch myself in this process. I stop myself from going down this rabbit hole creating drama in my mind that doesn’t actually exist. It’s not easy to do, but it is so worth it. The overthinking that I do to get me to this point tells me that the other person in the situation is bullying me or that I’m a fucked up person. It wears me down without me even being in the other person’s presence.

Not only do I ruminate and worry about the future, but I also worry about the little things. Will I look absolutely stupid in this outfit, am I over/underdressed? What happens if I’m late? What happens if we break something on the truck? What if we don’t have enough money? What if they judge me for this? Don’t be too loud, we don’t want to offend anyone. Don’t have sex here, this is Sally’s house and that is disrespectful. Don’t make the food according to your dietary preferences, you don’t want to offend everyone else who is eating. Don’t quit drinking alcohol, you won’t have anything in common with Sally and won’t have anything to bond over anymore. I could go on and on with thoughts that have crossed my mind. I am always overthinking everything.

How do I course correct my overthinking train of thought? I stop dead in my tracks and twist the thought. If Sally was staying in my house, how would I feel about her and her husband having sex if nobody actually heard or knew it was happening? How would I feel if Sally was late to the BBQ by two minutes? How would I feel if Sally told me that they couldn’t go to the event because it wasn’t in their budget?

Let me tell you how I would respond. I would say have fun and have sex if nobody knows about it. Two minutes is nothing, glad you are here safely. I totally get budgets and I think is awesome you are sticking to yours.

I would respond completely different to other people than I do to myself when I get trapped in an overthinking episode. While I’m not even close to perfect in eliminating my overthinking, I can proudly say that by flipping the situation, I am a recovering overthinker. I have stopped so many horrible overthinking trains of thought from spiraling so far out of control that I’m afraid to be in Sally’s presence. I have improved how I behave and show up for not only myself but the people I overthink about.

Overthinking doesn’t always have to control our lives. We can take back control. We just have to work for it. It isn’t easy, but it is worth it.

How can you flip your overthinking train of thought?

Life’s A Bitch

I heard this phrase more often than not when growing up. It was usually expanded on with “Life’s a bitch, then you die.”

My parents would say that. That was their whole outlook on life. They seriously could not find anything good in any situation. Life was only negative and only happened to them.

When you grow up with this mindset, it is really difficult to break. I started by knowing that there was more to life than living off of other people and living in dead-end jobs, barely making ends meet (of course, with other people supplementing your income), and that all it took was going after more. I started by changing my path after high school.

I went to college and I kept finding new jobs that would better support me. I worked two jobs most of college. This life was a bitch, but I wasn’t going to sit back and die.

I kept going. And going. And going. Soon enough, “life’s a bitch, then you die” wasn’t even part of my vocabulary. “Life’s a bitch” was, but that’s a drastic improvement.

Fast forward to today. Life is a bitch. But life is also rewarding and beautiful. And life is whatever the fuck you make it. So if your life is being a bitch, then you have to make the change to fix it.

If your path demands you walk through hell,

Now, life is a bitch, but I own that bitch. I am a bigger bitch. That hell I’m walking through, yeah I own that place too.

I took ownership of this shitty situation and I am going to come out of it with a better job that better aligns to my principles and values. I am going to work for a company that I feel good supporting. It might take a little longer to find that job, but this is my hell and I own it.

Life will always come at me. If I sit in the mindset that I was raised in that “life’s a bitch, then you die,” I’m going to wither away in a depressed state, not ever achieving anything. That is not who this girl is. I do not wither. I fight.

Just because I was raised with one mindset and listening to one phrase over and over again, doesn’t mean I have to stay there.

This life, this bitch of a situation, yeah, I’m making it my bitch and I’m not going to die.

What saying are you used to hearing that may need kicked to the curb?

Defense

I don’t remember where I first heard this quote, but it turned on a lightbulb for me. You see, I jump to defensiveness immediately. It doesn’t matter if the statement is nothing is sarcasm, a compliment, or a deep conversation. Defensiveness is my first reaction.

Defense is the first act of war.

There are probably many different interpretations of this quote, but I’d like to share mine.

Every time I go on the defense, I am starting an act of war. I can look back at situations where I have been defensive and I can see how I interpret the situation after as a war. It usually goes like this: I feel attacked, get defensive, then it feels like war to prove something or assert my opinion. Usually prove something. I always feel like I have to prove something.

Because I feel like I have to prove something, almost anything, I get defensive. I have to prove something because of two reasons. First, my ego, or as Andrea Owen calls it, my inner critic. Second, I lack self-confidence.

I can start a camera reel of situations that I feel shitty about and see this same thing happening over and over again. I get defensive, the situation then feels like war.

How am I going to flip the switch?

I am going to do thought work. Every day. Especially after future situations happen.

I just learned methods for thought work this weekend. I haven’t done my first session of thought work yet, but I am going to dive in and work on all the thoughts and feelings that make me get defensive.

Why haven’t I started? Because I did the normal “I’ll start on Monday.” I don’t know why, but I did. And it’s Monday. So I’m starting tonight. Thought work starts tonight to end the camera reel of defensiveness causing war.

Can you think of a situation where you were defensive and it felt like war?