In my life, I have lost a lot of things – my friends, my phone, respect for the people I used to admire, my bobby pins (almost every week), and the list goes on. But there is one thing that I am striving hard to get rid of – my habit of overthinking. Sometimes I think that when I die, the words, “Here lies Priyanka because she could not give her brain a break” will be written on my stone.
Overthinking, I feel, is similar to putting on weight. You don’t know when it’s happening but one fine day, when you look at your old self, you realise what has happened and then wonder how the hell it happened. I’m also doing the same and hence, the post. However, the fact that there are plenty others in the same boat as me gives me a hell lot of consolation.
So, yesterday, I had a sudden craving for an ice-cream. But before acting on my temptation, I started deliberating on whether –
it was the right time to buy an ice-cream
I would catch cold after eating it
I should eat something healthy instead
I should ask someone to accompany me
the impulse was so strong that I should go to an ice-cream parlour almost a kilometre away.
Yeah, I thought about all this for a fucking ice-cream. I did not even eat it in the end!
My past experience and a bit of reading on the internet made me realise that we overthink in mainly two ways:
Either we analyse a situation over and over again, and think about the “should be” or “should not be”,
Or we think about a past event again and again, and think about the “would have been” or “would not have been”.
End result: We end up making no decision. Just in case we do, we always have a small regret at the back of our mind. Either way, this bitch called overthinking screws our peace of mind.
But now when I think of overthinking, it brings me to a major question – the ‘why’. Maybe it’s because we lack confidence and second-guess ourself. Someone told me that we are terrible judges of ourselves. This instills within us, a fear of the outcome of our decision and we weigh the pro’s and cons of the decision too much. But we tend to forget the truth: No one in this world has their shit together. Those who look like they do, are great at pretending, and that, my friends, is called confidence.
Take the ice-cream incident, for example. Had I simply trusted my decision, gone ahead without too much thinking and purchased the ice-cream, I wouldn’t be be sitting here feeling miserable. Imagining the worst case scenario, I might have caught cold, got really late, or spent too much but it’s nothing that one cannot survive. However, instead of the actual outcome, I let my fear of it hold me back.
One more reason that we make our life miserable is because we care. Caring is not a bad thing. But too much of it is bad because it makes us overthink. There is one plain and simple thing we should know. The past cannot be changed no matter how much we think about it. If it could, well, there’s already a list of past fuck-ups that I’d like to amend and I would gladly send my brain into overdrive just for the same.
Also, even when it comes to things around us, we care too much (about) and analyse everything – bad weather, bad hair day, someone’s behaviour towards us, not getting our way – too much trivial shit that’s not even worth a minute of our time. This reminds me of the line that I read in Mark Manson’s post:
Indeed, the ability to reserve our fucks for only the most fuckworthy of situations would surely make life a hell of a lot easier. Failure would be less terrifying. Rejection less painful. Unpleasant necessities more pleasant and the unsavory shit sandwiches a little bit more savory.
While writing this, I’ve reached the conclusion that quitting overthinking is a habit that needs to be inculcated rigorously. It’s only applicable to you if you wish to retain your peace of mind. So, the next time you consider asking someone out, pursuing a career, or making a major decision, you should think… no, stop right there! Don’t let the fear or rejection or failure deter hold you back. You might get rejected, you might fail but if you do nothing, you most definitely will! And then after a while, you’ll overthink about the “would have been” or “would not have been” and screw your happiness. It’s a vicious circle.
Also, if you feel that something’s wrong or someone’s giving you a hard time, stop thinking and confront the situation or the bitch who’s responsible for it. Thinking of it logically, confronting a person or a situation may or may not help, but overthinking certainly will not.
All said and done, in life, regardless of whatever we do or don’t, there will always be consequences involved. So you might as well suck it up and adopt the mantra: Fuck that shit and cross the road!