When I was first told that I might be a perfectionist, I vehemently denied it, citing my reason as “not being very neat at all”. I knew that wasn’t really what she meant – but in that moment, I refused to believe it. I tried to dismiss it.
However, to my surprise, the idea kept creeping back to me – and as the days passed, I realized that, in a strange sort of way, she did have a point.
Every night, I would replay every single event I deemed as a “mistake” in my mind over and over again, in all its horrific glory – like a broken record tape I had absolutely no control over. And I would fall into the all-too-familiar cycle of overthinking about it until it nearly drove me crazy.
And of course, this kind of thinking only brings you misery; and suddenly life starts to become a collection of all the mistakes that you’ve ever made.
So how do I get over this?
Your mindset is a powerful tool – it can either be your problem or your solution. But changing it is easier said than done, and that’s why the first ingredient is time. This might seem slightly obvious – but don’t expect things to magically get better as soon as you set out to change things. Be patient with yourself.
The important thing is to avoid the temptation to fall into the pit hole of negativity. It’s so, so easy to fall into the abyss of overthinking. Of course, it’s hard to cut negativity out of your mind altogether completely. If a not-so-positive thought finds its way up to the surface, chances are, if you immediately try to force it down, it’ll probably come back to haunt you, whether you like it or not. (kind of like a yo-yo, just not as fun.)
Recognize that point where you know you’re about to start overthinking. Pause – acknowledge it. Okay, so you’re feeling this way, and that’s perfectly valid. Try to rationalize what you’re overthinking about in your head, as if you were giving advice to a friend. Here’s an example: say you’re worried about how your teacher surely hates you now, and now you’re thinking about all the consequences that could possibly bring. You can’t help but start panicking. Your life is ruined, and you can’t go to school now and is there a way to bury yourself and never ever return –
Realistically, you know that your life is definitely not ruined in the long run, and that you probably have to go back to school. But in the moment, your emotions engulf you, and you can’t think of anything else.
So instead, you could try to think things through as logically as you can.
How do you know that your teacher definitely hates you? Are you a mind reader?
Is there any use worrying about it now?
Could you be doing other things right now? Things that make you happy?
Yep. Like watching that TV show you really like or talking with your friends.
If you can feel the negative thoughts pushing their way back up again, gnawing at you, trying to be noticed, remember this: the past is the past. It’s happened, and now you’re moving on to better things. It’s time to stop living your life in the past. 🙂
And finally? Love yourself a little more. You’ll find yourself enjoying life a lot more after realizing that you’re only human – a human that makes mistakes, just like everyone else.