How would you describe yourself? When people first meet you, what do you tell them? Take a few moments to have a quick think about what you would say. My name is Jess, I am 23 years old, I come from Australia and I work in the media. I live in Oxford and in my spare time, I like spending time with my friends, writing and playing music.
Plausible, right? Seems legit. But who are you, really? All of those things, your age, what you do, where you are from, are they really what you are? Yeah they make up everyone’s outside perception of who you might be, but they aren’t who you really are. Now, I think I have said this before, I’m not here to make any massive revelations and tell you things that you don’t already know, but I’m not sure that we are really acknowledging the people that we are by telling others a list of external things about ourselves that they can already guess.
So I’ll rephrase, my name is irrelevant. You’ll meet plenty of others with the same name as me, but that doesn’t mean that they are the same as me. I am a very thoughtful person, which yes, like many of us means that I overthink absolutely everything. I’m trying to become a more positive person, through my internal thoughts, I want them to match my actions and the things that I do and say about others. I want to be able to see myself, internally, as others may see me, not as flawed or imperfect, but imperfect in my own way. I want to understand what I think and the person that I really am, not just the list of things that you will already thing of me for yourself. I feel as though this is a really selfish thing to do and for me that is quite difficult.
I want to reverse my negative thoughts and feelings internally, addressing them internally is the only way that I will ever truly be a person who is a positive thinker. We are the only ones who create how we feel. External influences, other people, circumstance and possessions can change and influence these feelings and at the end of the day we can’t deny how we feel about external influences, I think we all just need to learn to accept them, create that internal dialogue as a way to cope when things aren’t going our way.
So I can’t thank just my internal thoughts for this way of trying to think. I attended a positive thinking workshop in Oxford at Inner Space, a drop in meditation and relaxation centre and went to a mindfulness festival this weekend (yep lets all ring true of the Jess is a hippie stereotype haha.) I guess I just wanted to share my experience and what I have kind of taken away from actually thinking about my overthinking in an effort to make others around me to try and think more positively. Now this isn’t to just say, I’ll snap my fingers and now you’ll be positive, it is a process and something that you have to work with. My process of working through this is by sharing my experience with people around me. I think that by doing this we can all become a bit more mindful and lead longer and happier lives.
For as long as I can remember, like I’m talking first memories as a child ever kind of remember, I have always thought about stuff. Like probably way too much. I wonder how other people think, like not what they tell you that they think, but what they actually think. I find it really interesting, the internal monologue. What are our motivations? Why do some people do rubbish things and feel no remorse? Or do they just say that they feel nothing, but internally what is their agenda? I don’t really know, but what I do know is that I think. Like about everything. Not in the sense that I am like cautious about my words, cause if you know me, you know I blurt out bullshit like there’s no tomorrow. No, but in the sense that I analyse, not in a bad way, I guess at the forefront of my mind is usually how what I do and what I say affects those around me. Little things spark a long train of thoughts of seemly disconnected pieces, but they play out like a story in my mind. I’ve found this is a lot more prevalent when I spend time alone. Like not alone alone like in a dungeon room watching Netflix, but through travelling by myself, I think that I have really developed, understood how much I really do think about things.
The I’m not good enough is always a great one. It’s not that I enjoy to put myself down, because I really don’t, and I am trying really hard not to, but I think that when you over think, sometimes your self validation tends to go out the window. And I mean that’s okay, for me it is something that I know that I need to take the time to work on. Having been in quite a long term relationship for some time that didn’t wind up working out, I spent months blaming myself, because when I no longer had someone who ‘validated’ me (which lets be honest happened long before the relationship ended) then how could I validate myself? It’s quite a lonely road to go down to be honest, but I think that it needs to happen to you at some point in your life in some way shape or form to make you the person that you need to be. I’m really grateful for what has happened to me. Every single thing. The rubbish parts. The super rubbish parts. Because I can lay down here now and type about it all. It’s all about the experience.
Sometimes it feels like there is little to really appreciate in life. It’s not our fault really. Expectation is that everything should be up to a certain standard and if it isn’t, well, that’s just not good enough then is it? Beautiful 24/7 western culture, while I love your convenience of all day and night food, constant hot water and a bed to sleep in each night, sometimes, you’re the one to blame. Not saying that I want to give up late night eats, hot showers and bed, but I feel as though we have grown up in a world where we have come to just expect that as a minimum. While that’s great and kudos because I know that people work hard to achieve all that and whatever, doesn’t it just make us complacent? How would you feel if you lost everything, or doesn’t it even occur that it could happen. Convenience makes our egos inflate, we become accustom to a certain way of life and chuck a tantrum if something isn’t quick enough, close enough or cheap enough.
I think it’s easy to forget that sometimes we are all human. We all f**k up. All of us. Biggest CEO of a multimillion dollar company, no matter how awesome sauce he thinks he may be, I’m sure that if you look at his past career he’s made some stupid mistakes, come into work not wanting to be there some days; you know what? That’s okay. He’s human. Where the problem lies is when people think that they are anything better than anyone or anything else. Humility is probably the most admirable trait but the thing is, people on an ego trip? You probably shouldn’t be there. Humble people are the ones that should feel like they could be egotistical, but don’t do it anyway.
That being said and going back to my opening statement of ‘who are you?’ You aren’t your job, your car or your money. You aren’t fortune, shit, you aren’t even your achievements. At the end of the day, nothing of that will really matter, especially if he is unhappy with yourself. The funny thing is, being happy and positive isn’t a one step process, it isn’t even a ten step process, it’s all about the internal battle, the one that you have in your head with all of the self doubt, the am I ever going to be good enoughs, the its messed up before so it will mess up again.
As hard as it may seem to stop that cycle, I think that is many peoples undoing. If you tell yourself subconsciously you’re going to fail, then sorry bro, but you will. Harsh reality. It may seem conceded, could even be mistaken for over confidence, ( (or ego, as we discussed earlier) but if you tell yourself that you can do something, then you’ll do it. No doubting and you’ll do it. I’m not saying that it’ll happen overnight, good things take time (I hate that saying but it’s totally sometimes true) but they don’t happen if you keep doing the same old shit. Positivity brings positivity. That’s so true, but it is one of the hardest things in the absolute world to practice.
We are raised in a world where we are told we are not good enough. Just as us, we are told that we aren’t smart enough, we’re not skinny enough and that there is always going to be someone better. Define better. Is better the person that finished uni when they were 21 and waltzed into a high paying job? No. You don’t know how they got to where they are, just as they don’t know you. No one really does. We fight an internal battle always against external influences. At the end of the night, even if you pick up one of the last straggaly guys at the club, it doesn’t prove anything. If you do, go for your life, but it always comes back to that internal self, your dialogue that no one else hears. I am sure this is a thing, otherwise I must be crazy. But it’s a difficult thing to do, to stop comparing yourself to others. Why aren’t you as skinny, don’t have as much money, aren’t as happy, etc etc. This is what I mean about the external and internal self. Externally, they could look fantastic, great job, boyfriend, dog, skinny, rich, but internally, I lay you ten to one that they still think exactly all the same negative thoughts that you do, they’re just too afraid to admit it. So they’ll keep taking selfies with their dog (yes I know I have done this, so before anyone yells at me, shut up :P) posting about their amazing holidays and telling you how their life is so perfect. The thing about ‘perfect’ is that everyone has a different sort. Some may have the perfect where they go home to the same place every night, have the same friends and do the same things each weekend. Others might just do whatever or have no plan and that’s perfect too. It seems so simple, yep, we are all different yeah, different lives, upbringings and experiences, so it has to be normal that everything is different.
We spend the majority of our lives searching for answers to questions that may or may not even exist. We work jobs we hate to move up the corporate ladder to then afford a place to live that we hate. Or we spend the majority of our lives asking questions, of ourselves and others. We work jobs to make a difference, with people that we like, having an end goal, whether that be to travel the world or buy a small slice of land to call home.
Either way, we choose. We choose to be humble or we choose to have an ego and delude ourselves into a false sense of superiority. We choose to take on the pain and hurt from others, or we choose to accept it, be thankful for the good times and let it go. If you’re looking for answers, I’ve probably just posed more questions but I have discovered that the only answers lie within yourself (as cheesy and selfhelp-y as that sounds). You’re kinda the only one who can change you (as much as your girlfriend probably thinks she can, sorry sweetie, people don’t usually change, unless it’s their idea).
Often the thoughts that we think and the situations that we make up in our head are nothing like what happens in our actual lives. The way we dissect what people say, overthink people’s assumptions about us, in actual fact, are often further from the truth than we imagine. I have always been (as I’m pretty sure I stated before) an over thinker. And that’s okay, for the majority of the time, but have you ever stopped and thought about how draining thinking over and over again can really be? What is that persons perception of me? Who do I look like to them? Now, I can go back to the external assumptions speech I made a bit earlier, what we want people to see us as, but can you imagine what the world would feel like if you lived thinking constantly about what others thought of you? Not for any external validation, but because you overthink so much, you think to the point that you are thinking about what others are thinking about you.
My prime example of this and something that I always refer back to in this situation is when someone breaks up with you. Now internally and let’s face it to the people that matter, you know there is nothing wrong with you. But when you meet people for the first time, or someone asks you about that section of your life, you immediately feel the need to rejustify that yes, infact I was broken up with, doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with me, but the correlation in your mind immediately turns to, ooh I wonder what that person thinks about the fact that someone broke up with me? I wonder if they think that I am subpar, that I did something wrong. Then now, because I hooked up with that random guy at the party, how do they view me. Oh shit, they haven’t spoken to me in a while, are they judging my actions? Why do I care? What in this world made me care so much about the inner monologue of others? Is my brain that intense that it can not only make up thoughts in my head about my own things, it can make up thoughts in my head about the thoughts of me from others? Tiring, right? But it keeps me up at night. For sometimes I would give whatever it takes to see a glimpse of my future, wouldn’t we all? I get that life is fleeting and that’s why it’s beautiful and all that, but a little indication of where I could potentially end up would be so nice. But where is the fun in that? I’ve decided that I really want to make stupid mistakes. Like not the ones that wind you up in hospital (hasn’t happened yet thankfully) but yeah, cliche I know, but life is short.
To move forward, you need to let go. Acceptance of the things that you can’t change, happiness for the good times and strength for the bad. It is a slow process, but in the process you get to know who you really are when you are by yourself. And I don’t just mean by yourself like physically alone, because if you take away that aspect, we are always, well I won’t say by ourselves, but we are always with ourselves.
We are made up of our decisions and our thoughts. They shape us. Every single little thing we do, that is who we are. Whether it was to stupidly kiss that boy, or fall in love with someone when you shouldn’t, to move halfway around the world and take a job that you think will be good for your career, as unfortunate as it may be, these are all our choices and all part of our story. Sometimes things choose for us, that’s okay too. I think that sometimes it is naive to think there is a grand plan for us all. For each and every one of us. I don’t believe this at all. But, I believe that there is a grand plan for a some few. And I think that some few are the ones who are stuck in their own heads; they just need to find a way to escape and channel their thoughts into something productive (hah, productive, story of my life) are the ones who are brave enough to think more deeply about everything that life has to offer.
But I’m not going to lie, it hurts. It hurts sometimes to think how insignificant you are. And unfortunately, it’s the unthoughtful and insignificant people that usually make the significant people as though they are insignificant (great word that is, isn’t it). But hold up, often the people who hold the least significance think that they hold the most, it’s the people who are the most significant that believe they are the least. All about that ego trip hey. (If you could follow that, kudos, I’m not even sure that I can). I guess that what I am try to say, more to the point, what I am trying to do, is to try to become a person that while living in my head, I’m not doing it in a destructive and detrimental way. Again, with the lame self help-ness, positivity brings positivity. Yes, not everyone will agree with your choices. But to be blunt, f**k them. Actually, probably don’t. That’s probably not a good choice. But then who am I to judge what is or isn’t a good choice for anyone else?
********* Have a quick rest… This is a long post :P********
We live in a world where the way we identify ourselves, through our names, occupations and genders places societal constraints on our behaviour; don’t do that, that’s not ladylike; oh you look like such a girl. See this is the problem with overthinking (and 11 hour workdays, long work weeks and lack of sleep really that make me write this crap). So when you get a second, or a minute maybe, think about what you are thinking about, think about who you are. How the events of your life and your choices; whether they were made by you or not have gotten you to this point in time and space right now. Really feel. Feel what it means to be alive. Right now. Not in 10 years, don’t worry about the past five. Feel what it means to have the ability, more so, the opportunity to be in control of your choices. Whatever you do for work, however much money you have, whatever clothes you wear, that isn’t you. Think about how others see you; who would you like someone else to meet? Think about the things that they like about you, what they admire, not what you look like or the type of car you drive; that is all just so fleeting.
The biggest challenge to our positivity is the negative thoughts of others. Expectation is a killer but time and time again we find that as our motivator. I’m trying to believe that I don’t owe anything to anyone other than myself. Years of self doubt hamper that slightly, but address where I am today, not in spite of where I have come from, but because of where I have come from, my choices and decisions have led me here yes and externally it all seems amazing and I could over think for years if it was the right choice blah blah no one cares.
The past exists in our minds; as much as we try, there is nothing that we can do to change it but it definitely changes us and who we are. You have to believe though, while I don’t believe in a grand master plan for us all I do believe in embracing opportunity and positivity not only for our futures, because right now, that’s all they are; irrelevant. Embracing the opportunity of getting out of bed each morning I think is a luxury that many of us do in fact take for granted, and thus, should always remember to feel exactly what we feel right now (side note, I used ‘thus’; always tried to put that word into essays at uni, thought it made me sound like a literary genius, haha you’d have to ask my tutors if that was actually true haha).
So that was my little insight for the day I guess. Do with it what you will, I don’t really mind. Sometimes to make sense of the world, we all need an outlet. Mine is clearly posting long irrelevant blog posts.. So big thanks to the champions that read this mess, i truly hope that others can get something out of my incessant ramblings (or at least agree with them, if not all but in part). It takes a lot of guts to post shit like this, even though it’s nothing really, I hope that you guys understand and can appreciate the jumble of thoughts of an over thinker like me. I hope youve enjoyed the post (if you got through it all this far) and some of the photos from my time at the Peace in the Park festival this weekend. Be happy and drink tea ✌🏼️