I have come to learn that most times when I am in the worst mood, it is 99% due to how I choose to handle the 1% of bad stuff that comes my way. Whether it be due to overanalyzing a situation, over-reacting about what someone did, dwelling on the negative outlook, or just plain being grumpy – it’s usually my own fault. This brings me both relief and frustration. Relief because I can say that as far as the general world population goes, things are pretty good and people aren’t able to affect my moods that much. Which I consider a good thing. But in another way, it forces me to face the fact that I cause my self much useless anxiety over things that really don’t affect me very much at all – or at least shouldn’t.
I’ll give a hypothetical example. You say something to a friend, and you think afterwards, by some understated way in their reaction, that you pissed them off. So there you go, stressing throughout the day and perhaps overnight (or longer) that you have done something terribly wrong. But it starts out with you being like “crap, I messed up.” But time goes on over the day (or the time period of not talking) and it moves from “crap, I messed up” to “oh my good God I messed up our entire friendship and I can’t believe it – he/she wants nothing to do with me (blah blah blah)” only, come to find out, you were WRONG. They were cutting you off because they had somewhere to be, and they’re not mad at all.
So what have you accomplished now? The problem is that all this time, you were over-reacting, blaming yourself and making things blow way out of proportion. This means that you misjudged their emotions and thus put un-needed stress on you and the situation, and plus, you wasted precious time feeling guilty.
Not like this has happened to me recently or anything…
What I’m trying to say is overall, we are much too harsh on ourselves, and that ends up stabbing us in the back. It is commonly said that we are our own harshest critics, and I have come to believe that whole-heartedly. From the times of middle and high school self evaluation project rubrics where I would give myself a C, come to find out I earned an A, to more adult situations in which I have found flaws in myself which loved ones don’t see at all, I have seen first hand that I am too harsh on myself. Now maybe I’m the only one, but I’m writing this guessing that I’m not alone aboard the Blame Train.
We are commonly bombarded by messages from the media that tell us one way to think over another, followed by another piece of information that contradicts the previous. This does essentially put thoughts into our brains, and does affect us. But the point of my little soapbox here is that the Geico gecko may tell me I can save 15% or more on car insurance, and that affects me enough to remember Geico later when I’m looking at insurance — but the more important decisions and emotions are blown to super-sized amounts by our own insecure, over-analyzing, and much-too-harsh selves.
So what can we learn from this little mini-lesson? Here’s what I have come up with.
1) Stop thinking so hard (and over-analyzing each thing). When you take a solid situation and over-think it so bad that you essentially liquify whatever it was, you are wasting time on something that probably isn’t too difficult to settle easily.
2) Women: If we are talking about a situation with a gentleman – the best thing I can think of is: RELAX. Because I can 100% guarantee you that men do not think about our text messages or words and their responses for even one-third of the time that women do. So bottom line on this is to just move on because if he’s worth it, he probably won’t care. And yes, I’ll quote Mac MacGuff from Juno: “Look, in my opinion, the best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person is still going to think the sun shines out your ass. That’s the kind of person that’s worth sticking with.” (So that settles that.)
3) Remember that we all have faults. Whether they are physical traits, emotional weaknesses, personality flaws, or problems in life – everyone has them. And the only person that has the power to identify those weaknesses, flaws, and problems – is yourself. So choose the high road for yourself. Don’t let those negatives get in your way of doing exactly what you set your mind to – but rather use them as motivation to get to where you want to go. Your dream destinations are waiting, and things will set in motion the minute you are able to forgive yourself for things in the past and whatever may come in the future.
4) And finally, for every time that you over-think, over-analyze, over-react, or just plain get upset with something you did, think of 3 things about yourself that make you proud to be you. I know that sounds ridiculous, but do it. It can be the most seemingly insignificant thing, but the fact that it came to your mind means that it deserves to be there. Maybe you paid the toll for the stranger behind you, or you were able to laugh at yourself when you spilled a drink at work (again, not like I’m talking for myself or anything… 😉 ) But whatever it takes, think of a few things to get your brain off the self-critical train and back on to the The Little Engine that Could.
Let me know what you think. And remember good old Mac MacGuff, in case you really get yourself into a mess: “Somebody else is going to find a precious blessing from Jesus in this garbage dump of a situation.” 🙂