I have always been an overthinker. This is my biggest flaw.
It is reflected in my large number of half-finished articles and the long period of time since I published one. I even set myself the goal of writing and finishing this article in one day. That was about a month ago. When I am overthinking about overthinking, I realise I may have a problem.
I had a vague goal for myself this year. A goal I have written to myself many times as a way of managing my worries:
To find and fix the parts of me that are broken
I write the same words over and over. When I am alone in my room or trying to kill time at work, I write these words down and look at them. I add my flaws beneath. My issues are much more manageable on a piece of paper than they are in my head. But the list grows and grows to a worrying length.
Most of my previous articles have been about my mental struggles since Covid. Feeling lost and dreaming of moving back to London. Applying for jobs every day and trying to find a reason to distract myself from the worries. To find a reason to keep going.
Since this period when I felt at my lowest, I now have what I wanted. I live where I want to live and surround myself with the people who impact me positively. I work hard to fill each of my hours with either pleasure or work towards my eventual goals. I have felt less need to write to escape. I have love and joy in my life. I am exhausted in the most fulfilling possible way. All of this is a gift. Over the year I have done all that could ever be asked of anyone, I have grown.
I write that with pride for my accomplishments as that is how I feel in this moment. But I don’t always treat myself so kindly. I still have an exceptional talent for bringing myself down. I feel genuinely fearful that I will allow my overthinking to jeopardise the things that are great in my life.
I let a simple daydream turn into a full-blown character assault on myself
I have always had a talent for allowing a passing comment to ruin my day. But now I am at a point where I let a comment I have made up in my head ruin it. I spiral into fake situations and arguments, while not real, produce real emotions and real negative effects on me. Large periods of time can pass before I snap out of it.
They make my heart race and my head cloudy. I know this isn’t healthy and I am unsure why I do it. But I do. This person in my head in these moments isn’t me. It’s just someone who looks like me. But it is hard to always see that.
I possess the worst mixture of arrogance and insecurity. I think the whole world is talking about me but always in a negative way.
I think about all the good things in my life, there are plenty, but this version of me seems committed to twisting my perception of them. Finding my flaws, no matter how small and making them the focal point. I really can’t shake this sometimes. I don’t know-how.
I can have the best day of my life, go home and focus on one second when someone gave me a slightly off look and let that moment feel like an eternity. I can achieve something great and only focus on the less than perfect moments, and over the day lower my accomplishment, dropping down the league tables from great to good, to bad, to failure! I deprive myself of the joy of the day and replace it with anxiety and pity.
So I write the same words again on a piece of paper: Find the parts of me that are broken and fix them
Now, instead of letting myself spiral and writing an everlasting list, I force myself to be concise. Now I focus on just two points. The ones that directly hinder my happiness right now: Overthinking. Stop having irrational arguments in my head.
These two are the same really. The second comes under the category of overthinking
I can convince myself that I am the most hated person in the world, but if I look to my left as I write this I see gifts people bought for me on my birthday. Visual and concrete proof that I am loved. I need to escape this way of thinking I have. It held me down when I was feeling down. Now I fear it trips me up now that I am doing well. It is tripping me up! My own irrational thoughts are laying in wait for the chance to bring me down again.
So now I add another voice in my head. When I find myself getting carried away in thought and can feel the anxiety growing in my chest, regardless of whether that feeling is warranted or not, I say to myself “stop overthinking”.
Listening to this voice is the hardest part. It’s difficult to accept when someone else says you are wrong, so when you say it to yourself it is even harder. I would be lying if I say I am able to do this each time I should, but in the moments when I have managed to do it, it has worked. It has made me happier on more occasions than sad, isn’t that really the point of everything?
I think there is a chance that I have had more conversations in my head this year than I have in person. Irrational arguments in my head outnumber real-life interactions. I let it happen. I let fake scenarios paint a more vivid picture of myself and others instead of the real words they say to me.
One conversation leads me to spend hours reading between the lines. But now is the time I am making that stop. I have found the part of my that is broken and now I am trying to fix it.
There is one thing I have struggled to stop overthinking about. Why has it gotten worse? Why have I found myself overthinking situations more now? I think I have the answer. Because I’m happy.
Truly happy and proud of myself. I think there is a big part of me that does not recognise myself for that. It’s a new feeling and my mind is in shock. It does not know how to handle it. But the truth is I feel lucky with the life I have.
I say lucky, I’ve earned it!
My biggest flaw is not a physical one or based on my personality, it is purely the conversations I have with me about me.
Usually, when I finish an article and publish it, I watch to see how many likes it gets. I receive kind messages from people who will say it’s good and I will wonder why they didn’t say great. I’ll scan the article for mistakes and imperfections, inevitably finding them and lay awake at night feeling inadequate. I overthink.
But this time, I will not. I’ve finished, I’ll publish it and continue to enjoy the beautiful life I had made for myself.