One thing that I am constantly told, by well-meaning friends, is to stop overthinking situations, scenarios etc.
Well I can’t. It is that simple.
If I could stop overthinking then I gladly would as it is one of the primary causes of unhappiness for me, but my brain never switches off. No amount of distraction or even meditating helps. It’s something I’ve had to learn to live with. If overthinking burnt calories I would be a size 0 and eating fast food every day without gaining weight. I think you get the picture.
I now accept I overthink, so instead of working on not doing so (about as likely as Boris Johnson taking a vow of celibacy) I have instead taken to work on the result of my overthinking and how I manage my reaction to overthinking. I shall give 2 examples of how I have implemented this over just the last few days.
As the mother of a one year old I have been doing the baby/toddler group circuit over the last year and made friends. They’re not established or secure friendships and are still vulnerable, so I know I have to tread carefully and not freak people out. I heard through general chit chat with other mummy friends that one of the mum’s was having a book party the following day. When I heard this my mind reacted immediately, it was screaming at me WHY HAVEN’T I BEEN INVITED!!! And then the darker voice came too and added it’s own thoughts on the situation I told you nobody really likes you. They only pretend to like you. They don’t want you going to their houses. Crazy lady.
In these situations most people wouldn’t get that worked up about a book party they weren’t invited to that they didn’t even necessarily want to go to. They may have been pleased not to have to go. Not me! My brain is going at it trying to establish what I said and when and what I have done specifically to make this person HATE me so much. It eats me up. I feel embarrassed and ashamed again that I’v let myself down and nobody likes me.
After 2 days of literally beating my mind up about this trivial situation, I decide to be proactive. I do something I haven’t done before. In a non-confrontational way I message the mummy friend asking her if I have done anything to upset or offend her. This is a huge turn around for me. I normally in this situation block people from my life as I am so convinced they hate me that I can’t bear to discuss it with them. Well guess what? She doesn’t hate me!
She replied instantly apologising. She had organised the party and attendees through a group chat for all the local mummies. I am not in the group chat after removing myself after a similar incident a couple of months ago so never received the invite. I managed to resolve a situation and only waste 2 days overthinking! It was also good to say you’re wrong this time to my inner voice.
Another example this week involves a date. I do enjoy a date; my crazy brain thrives on the uncertainty!
We had a great date; best one in a few years. I didn’t think the second date would even be a conversation as chat flowed freely, we flirted and I could sense he liked me. But that’s too easy for an overthinker.
We had texted after the date, and I brazenly typed So when’s date 2? X
That’s it. He wasn’t interested. He doesn’t like you. Why would he like you? What’s even to like? My inner voice mocks me. I try to fight back at it. We had chemistry. You can’t fake chemistry…. can you? But why would he like you! My inner voice says on repeat. I resign myself to the fact he’s not going to text. Previously I would have sent a message asking if he’s OK, did I do something wrong etc, but this time I hold back. No one likes keen after a date. If anything, if they like you, they play it cool. If they like you? As if! Mocks my inner voice again.
And then he texts 🙂
And yes, his text involved arranging another date. Happy days!
So what I have learnt this week, is that I am an overthinker and I also over analyze everything. And that’s OK as I can’t change it. What I can change is my reaction. I am in control of being able to resolve situations without them blowing up and causing a major over reaction by me.
This has been liberating on so many levels. I have control.