I overthink everything, leading to some ridiculously magnified indecisiveness. The overthought thoughts in question can physically manifest themselves in many ways. It can look as simple as carrying a pair of jeans around a department store for an hour before I decide whether or not to purchase them, or as important and multifaceted as when we were deciding where to send the kids to school (and I bugged all my relatives and friends in different school districts for intimate, silly details about those schools). But here’s the thing, it’s not because I don’t know what I want-it’s because I don’t know what everyone else wants. That’s stressful!
Why do I do it? Why do I walk around beating myself up? Why do I stress myself out? Why do I care so much about disappointing people and how does that apply to these stupid jeans I’m carrying around? And the people whose judgement I’m adding into the question… I’m fairly positive they don’t even look at my jeans! Why do we do these things?
For me, a lot of the worrying that stemmed from the fear of disapproval tended to surround bigger life decisions. My parents, my extended family, and even people at church were high on my list of people to impress or at least to do well by; most especially at the top of this list are my father and my grandmothers (even though one of them has been dead for years now). I wanted them to approve of me, and more so, to be proud of me.
You’ll notice my kids and my husband were not on that list. They should’ve been at the top. At the time, they were not. It took years for me to realize this and to understand the small cracks of derision it had caused.
Now, there are other reasons (beside the inane judgements of others) to overthink and come to indecisive conclusions. Continuing with the jeans example, it was a whole inner argument in and of itself as to whether I really needed jeans, or if I could just walk around in the holey, oversized ones for a while longer. There are always so many other things- I have to take some snazzy dish to the church picnic this weekend; the porch could use painted-do I need to spend this money? The more I learned about myself though, the more I realized that these money type decisions.. well, they were just a little root from the bigger problem; why would I buy myself something when I could use that money to improve something more relevant for gaining the approval of others in the long run?
These days, I am trying to keep myself reminded that those people who I had been basing my decisions around: they don’t have to live with the consequences of my choices. I do. I have to do right by myself so that I’m a better mom and wife to the people who really matter most, and, for me, I want to do right by my heavenly Father, and sometimes (most of time) that means not taking into account what other people would say. God has blessed me with this insight into myself, and it has improved my relationship with myself, with my husband, with my children, and even has improved my spiritual peace. My extended family of course matters, but not to the extent it effects my health. I also finally realized, they didn’t want that either.
Is there someone in your life whose opinion you prize maybe a little too heavily? Is this causing you unneeded stress?