You know when someone says something that resonates with you to your very core? It can be a passing comment, a token of advice or just a statement, but it stays with you long past that person’s presence. Well, someone once told me in a state of my own agony that “the only thing that makes it a thing is that you keep thinking about it.” It was a simple phrase, one that doesn’t seem to have much weight to it, but it changed everything for me.
That phrase is one of those special tokens of wisdom that went on to define the way I looked at life and kept my sanity. To this day, I find myself repeating it whenever something goes wrong, whenever my mind has a moment to delve into the black hole of regrets and disappointments.
Whenever I find myself consciously drifting into a state of self-hatred and despair, I remember this phrase and repeat it like a tribal chant until the truth of it expels everything else. The moment I tell myself that it’s only my thoughts that are making me upset, everything gets better. It’s like telling yourself the dark is merely the same room without light. Through doing this, I’ve realized that the core of all my problems is simply rooted in my own thoughts. There’s nothing there making me relive these past nightmares or remember unwanted memories, except myself.
But what can you do? How do you live with all the clutter that sits, waiting to be opened up and remembered? I’ve come to realize that life is about moving past your regrets and failures. It’s about moving forward. It’s about finding space to live without letting the negativity of the world invade. Sadly, being happy is about learning how to live with the pain and that starts with learning how to control your thoughts. Because your thoughts are your biggest enemy. It’s not the words of others that bring us down, but how we let those words affect us.
Most of our pain comes from how we churn the negativity over and over again in our minds, until it envelops our very being. When you peel away all your insecurities, fears and sadness, you can find that most of it is a product of your imagination.
The people who survive and thrive through life are the ones who found coping mechanisms. Writers use their pain to create works of literature. Musicians use the therapy of notes to keep away the dark shadows of their misery. For everyone, it’s about finding a distraction from the pain, putting it somewhere else.
Overthinking is the silent enemy. It will keep you from yourself and those around you as you bask in a pool of regret and self-loathing. You must remember to tell yourself “the only thing that makes it a thing is that you keep thinking about it,” because it’s the truth, and even if it’s not true, there’s nothing you can do about it now. Here are three reasons why you must learn to stop overthinking:
1. It creates problems that aren’t there anymore. Worrying about what someone thinks of you or how your actions were perceived will only keep you from being the person you’re supposed to become. Most of the time, it’s your mind that creates the problems that weren’t there to begin with. It’s your job to keep things in perspective.
2. There is nothing that can be done now. What’s the point of wasting all your time and energy thinking about something that can’t be changed? What happened yesterday, or last week, or last year is over. There is nothing that can be changed now, so worrying about it is trying to fight a losing battle. Once you’ve accepted that nothing can be done and that life goes on, you will be free.
3. It keeps you from living in the present. When you’re constantly thinking, worrying and analyzing, you are taken out of the moment and instead put in a place of suffering. What good does staying in the past do? Where can you go from these thoughts? Rather than worrying about the mistakes of yesterday, concentrate on making up for them today.
Life is simple, stop overthinking it.
Lauren Martin writes for the Gen Y website Elite Daily.