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If Overthinking Is Your Habit, You’ve Judged Yourself Too Much

If Overthinking Is Your Habit, You’ve Judged Yourself Too Much

We are all victims of overthinking. For some of us it can be a fleeting thought but for many of us it can cause real damage in our perception of ourselves, others and the world around us.

Overthinking is an epidemic stemming from our tendency to compare ourselves to others; feeling inadequate and focusing too much on negative aspects of situations. In essence, it’s our judgemental thought patterns that create this world in our mind – a world of low self-worth and disconnect with our true self.

How Overthinking and Self-Judgement Are Connected

As humans, we are capable of deep, critical thinking about many subjects. If our mental health isn’t always healthy, we tend to judge ourselves and the relationship we have with everything. This causes us to hone in on a narrow idea of who we are. We’re too fat, too old, unsuccessful, unassertive, not passionate enough – and the worst one of all: not good enough.

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For example, if you have feelings of self-doubt about your ability to be successful, then this seed of thought can affect all areas of your life such as career, goals and dreams, relationships and friendships. Overthinking the lack of success and your ability to achieve it leads to more self-judgement. When opportunities arise in life like the perfect job interview or the perfect love, you end up sabotaging your potential through the act of overthinking your low worth and inability to succeed.

In essence, it can be a vicious cycle where overthinking leads to self-criticising, which in turn, leads to more overthinking.

To Stop Judging Ourselves We Need To Stop Judging Others

Judging others is just the start. If we have the ability to judge others based on our preconceived ideas and prejudices, then we have the ability to judge ourselves but with much harsher consequences. This inevitably leads to the overthinking we’re so familiar with.

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Training ourselves not to judge others is the first step. Look at these two people – what judgemental thoughts arise when you look at them?

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      Is the well-dressed, slim person successful but the over-weight person lazy or unsuccessful? Neither are necessarily true. It can be shocking what assumptions we make based on first perceptions but it’s these that are the basis of our own self-judgement.

      The art of taking in the whole view rather than making a stern, often wrong, decision on something is often practised by Buddhists. Mediation teaches us to not judge our thoughts but to note them and let them go on their merry way. Just observing a simple object can help identify our way of making judgements.

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        Try with a strawberry – what conclusions to do get from looking at it? Ask yourself why you make these assumptions.

        Move on to people – watch people when you’re out and about. See what assumptions you make about them and their lives – why do you have these views?

        Finally try this on the judgements you make on yourself and question whether your perceptions are really just illusions you create.

        By doing this, you can start to lessen your tendency to overthink. Once negative thoughts about yourself start to build up, you are in a better position to notice and understand them. But more importantly, stop them in their tracks.

        So, don’t beat yourself up for judging yourself. Realise that your perceptions can be based on false views and assumptions. Having the right mindset is the key to creating happiness in yourself – free of unnecessary worry and overthinking and building a space of non-judgement. Give yourself a break.

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        Jenny Marchal

        Freelance Writer

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        Last Updated on January 6, 2019

        Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

        Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

        No one wants to suffer. As a general rule, people like to avoid hurt and pain as much as possible. As a species, humans want a painless existence so much that scientists make a living trying to create it.

        People can now choose “pain-free” labor for babies, and remedies to cure back pain, headaches, body-pains and even mental pains are a dime a dozen. Beyond medicine, we also work hard to experience little pain even when it comes to loss; often times we believe a breakup won’t hurt as much if we are the ones to call it off.

        But would a world without pain truly be painless? It’s unlikely. In fact, it would probably be painful exactly for that reason.

        If people never experienced hurt, they wouldn’t know what it was. On the surface level, that seems like a blessing, but think for a moment: if we didn’t know pain, how would we know peace? If you don’t know you’ve hurt or been hurt, how would you know that you need to heal? Imagine someone only knowing they have an incurable cancer at the final stage because no obvious symptoms have appeared at early stages.

        Without the feeling of pain, people won’t be aware of dangerous situations—what should or shouldn’t do for survival.

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        Pain Is Our Guardian

        Pain serves to protect human beings from harmful actions. It’s the same reason parents teach babies that fire equals hot, and that hot equals hurt. Should the baby still place its hand in a fire or on a stove, the intense pain remains so memorable, that the child is certain never to repeat that action.

        In the same way, pain within human bodies can serve as a warning that something is not right. Because you know what it is to feel “well,” you know what it is to feel poorly.[1]

        Along with serving as a teacher of what not to do, pain also teaches you what you are made of in terms of what you can handle as an individual.

        While the cliche, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a tired term, it’s used excessively for a reason: it’s true. Pain helps you learn to cope with life’s inevitable difficulties and sadnesses— to develop the grit it takes to push past hardships and carry on.

        Whether it’s a shattering pain, like the loss of a loved one or a debilitating accident, pain affects everyone differently. But it still affects everyone. Take a breakup as an example, anyone who has experienced it knows it can hurt to the point of feeling physical. Especially the first breakup. At a young age, it feels like the loss of the only love you’ll ever know. As you grow and learn, you realize you’re more resilient with every ended relationship.

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        No Pain, No Happiness

        You only know happiness when you have known pain. While the idea of constant happiness sounds nice, there is little chance it would be. Without the comparison to happiness, there’s no reason to be grateful for it. That is to say, without ever knowing sadness or pain, you would have no reason to be grateful for happiness.

        In reality, there is always something missing, or something unpleasant, but it is only through those realizations that you know to be grateful when you feel you have it all. Read more about why happiness and pain have to exist together: Chasing Happiness Won’t Make You Happy

        In a somewhat counter-intuitive finding, researchers found one of the things that brings about the most happiness is challenge. When people are tested, they experience a greater sense of accomplishment and happiness when they are successful. It is largely for this reason that low-income individuals can often feel happier than those who have a sense of wealth.[2]

        This is a great thing to remember the next time you feel you would be happier if you just had a little more cash.

        Avoiding Pain Leads to More Suffering

        Pain is inevitable, embrace it positively. Anyone who strives to have a painless life is striving for perfectionism; and perfectionism guarantees sadness because nothing will ever be perfect.

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        This isn’t a bleak outlook, but rather a truthful one. The messy moments in life tend to create the best memories and gratitude. Pain often serves as a reminder of lessons learned, much like physical scars on the body.

        Pain will always be painful, but it’s the hurt feelings that help wiser decisions be made.

        Allow Room for the Inevitable

        Learning how to tolerate pain, especially the emotional kind, is a valuable lesson.

        Accepting and feeling pain makes you human. There is no weakness in that. Weakness only comes when you try to blame your own pain on someone else, expecting the blame to alleviate your hurting. There’s a saying,

        “Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.”

        Think back to the last time you were really angry with someone. Maybe you were hurt because you got laid off from a job. You felt angry and that anger caused so much pain that you could feel it in a physical way. Being angry and blaming your ex boss for that pain didn’t affect him or her in any way; you’re the only one who lost sleep over it.

        The healthier thing to do in a situation like that is acknowledge your pain and the anger along with it. Accept it and explore it in an introspective way. How can you learn and grow? What is at the root of that pain? Are you truly hurting and angry about being laid off, or is the pain more a correlation to you feeling like you failed?

        While uncomfortable, exploring your pain is a way to raise your self-awareness. By understanding more about yourself, you know how to deal with similar situations in the future. You can never expect to be numb to difficult situations, but you will learn to better prepare financially for the loss of a job and be grateful for an income since you now know nothing is promised (no matter how much you work or how deserving you may feel).

        Pain Hurts, but Numbness Would Be Worse

        Pain does not feel good, but the bad feeling of it will help you learn and grow. It makes the sweet moments in life even sweeter and the gratitude more sincere.

        To have a happier and more successful life, you don’t learn from success or accomplishment, but through pain and failures. For it is in those moments that you learn how to do better in the future or at least cope a little more easily.

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        You are the strong person you are today because of the hardships this life has presented to you. While you may have felt out of control when those hard times came, the one thing you will always have control over is how you choose to react to things. The next time you hurt or you’re angry or sad, acknowledge it and allow yourself to ruminate in it. Then take a deep breath and start learning from that pain. You’ve got this!

        Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

        Reference

        [1]University of Calgary: Why is Pain Important?
        [2]Greater Good Magazine: The Importance of Pain

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