“The present is a present, so treat it that way” ~ Ari Gunzburg
I’m what some might call an ‘overthinker’.
It seems I’m not alone in this. In fact, far from it.
The more I listen, the more I hear people openly talking about their struggle with overthinking, often accompanied by bouts of anxiety and depression.
An example is Fearne Cotton’s conversation with Frankie Bridge in her podcast “Happy Place” (I know a lot of people enjoy this).
Only a few
The ever-increasing pace of life and onslaught of negative news does nothing to help us overthinkers.
Add events of the past couple of years, and we’ve been sent into over-drive at times.
I wrote this the other morning…
“Many people are longing for how things used to be.
But, more often than not, you can’t go back to how things were.
Many others are future-focussed, dreaming or worrying about what lies ahead.
But, more often than not, you can’t control how things will be.
Only a few live wholly in the present, in the certainty of ‘now’.”
Maybe you can relate?
The pendulum effect
Some clouds really do have a silver lining.
Overthinking (or whatever you’d prefer to call it) typically happens for a reason. I’m no psychologist, though for me the following are often part of the mix:
- Empathy – experiencing the emotions of other people
- Structure – the need to plan and prepare
- Perfectionism – the will to always ‘do better’
- Patterning – envisioning future possibilities
These things bring qualities to life that I’d never want to lose – the silver lining.
But, they also have a shadow side, which I wrote about in 2020 in a post called Addicted Me…
“Throwing everything you’ve got into a particular pursuit for good will often bring with it a ‘shadow side’ – like a pendulum swinging hard left or hard right. Look around and you’ll see this happening; someone giving everything to their work, to shining in their career, at the expense of relationships back home. An extreme sports athlete seeking to achieve longer distances, faster times, to push harder at the expense of everything else.”
About 5 years ago, whilst overthinking one wintery morning, the 3 words “make life click” came to my mind. They seemed to perfectly express what I was willing to happen in my life… for something to cause everything to somehow click into place – to align – to make sense.
Ever since, I’ve wanted to talk more openly about this overthinking stuff with others, curious to hear people’s experiences and how they nurture the ‘light and dark balance’ of an overthinking mind.
But, more than this, I was curious to talk more openly about life stuff in general – about the things we all tend to keep to ourselves.
The early days
I tried using existing social platforms to begin expressing a few thoughts, but they never seemed quite the right place.
I watched Brené Brown’s infamous TedTalk “The Power of Vulnerability”, which increased my resolve.
Then, when the pandemic hit 18 months ago, many people suddenly became more open and interested in the bigger questions of life.
This led, in October 2020, to the pilot launch of “MakeLifeClick”, with a vision to “reimagine online community, based on ‘real life’ not ‘best life'”.
We’re now approaching phase 3 of the pilot.
The power of writing things down
For me, writing my thoughts down helps a lot. It enables me to externalise and explore the things on my mind. Also, hopefully, to help others and to create connection.
In 2021 (and on behalf of MakeLifeClick) I wrote a series on Instagram – a kind of ‘pause for thought’.
I’m no social influencer, though I do want to use the challenges I’ve experienced to help others if I can – the ‘power of vulnerability’ thing that Brené encourages.
The pursuit of happiness
During phase 2 of its launch, I posted the following question to the MakeLifeClick community: What one thing would you say to your younger self?
Someone reflected on happiness as part of their response, and how, for many, it always seems just out of reach. They included the following quote by Alfred D. Souza, which I’ll end this post with…
“For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, or a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.”
Are you an overthinker? What one thing would you say to your younger self in this respect?
(Cover photo by Fakurian Design from Unsplash)