This mini…dare I call it a rant? I think it’s more like word vomit. Yeah, let’s go with word vomit. Anyway, this word vomit is brought to you most likely by a combination of period hormones, the general nature of an overthinking soul and the need to release emotions through writing it out.
So, feel free to just brush off everything that follows because it’s a result of all of that above, or feel free to continue reading and then offering your own two cents in the comments below. You do you, I’m not here to tell you how to live your life.
Except, don’t compare yourself to other people.
Because honestly, it really doesn’t help anybody.
So, I overthink. That’s as plain and obvious as gravity or the sun shining (the latter being a little more questionable, thanks to our unrelenting winter, but you get what I mean). Recently, it seems like I’ve been overthinking everything that happens to me or everything that pops into my brain. By stopping to try and think for a second, instead of just doing what overthinking does, where I have a thought and then let my emotions run away with it as truth, I’ve come to realize that a lot of my overthinking–and the negative outcomes that I create as a result–is thanks to my comparing my current experiences with similar ones I’ve observed others go through, instead of looking at what I have and appreciating it for what it is.
Let’s show some examples.
I love my boyfriend. Seriously, he is positively fantastic and I adore him and I am so, so, so incredibly happy to be with him and consider myself beyond lucky. Our relationship, however, has always been pretty private, on his end, especially on social media. Me, I enjoy posting pictures of us together and writing gushy birthday posts like I did for him last weekend. Him, not so much. When I do, it doesn’t bother him at all (I’ve asked), but he isn’t one to really do that that often. So when I wrote a gushy birthday post for him, he didn’t “like” it or say anything about it on social media. Did he thank me 100 times for making his birthday awesome and going above and beyond with the cheesiness levels in person? Absolutely.
Yet did I still get a little bit bummed that he didn’t say anything on that post? Or that he doesn’t really post cute, cheesy things of us together?
Sure, yeah, I did.
It took me a while to figure it out. It’s simply because that’s what I’ve always seen only couples do. When I reached the age where dating started to become a thing was also the time when social media really started to pick up, so I’ve always been used to my friends having very public relationships on social media. So that’s what I’ve always expected to have, while I dreamed of being in a relationship for so long. Now, I finally found a man willing to put up with me and he just happens to be the type where he uses social media to share recipes and DnD memes and that’s about it.
Guess what, brain?
That’s okay. Stop trying to convince me otherwise and get upset when his way of showing affection is slightly different–and more private–than yours. If he doesn’t comment or like something you shared? That doesn’t have to mean he doesn’t like you–so stop telling yourself that, you dolt.
Let’s take another example.
Because I’m a writer, I absolutely love to read the acknowledgements sections in the books that I read, because I understand how much work it takes for an author to write a book and I like to read who they thanked in helping them through that process–because after it’s written, it becomes a very big team effort. Plus, I just like reading them and then dreaming about writing my own, one day.
When I read them, the expected culprits are usually there: parents, siblings, close friends, partners, dogs (because let’s be real, dogs are an amazing support system). And I read about how vital the support from those people was for the authors over the book I’m currently reading and sometimes I feel…jealous.
Because when I start comparing, my experience doesn’t feel the same.
I’ve written quite a few books, now, and I have a great support system. My family, close friends and my boyfriend all believe in me fully and don’t hesitate to tell me that. Their support is…everything. Yet my best friend has read a novel I’ve written. My Mom, two. No one else has read any of them, not even when I actually sent them out to them and invited them to read them and tell me what they think. I have my beta readers who have read more, of course, but sometimes I look at how little those close to me have actually read and I begin overthinking why they haven’t.
It’s because my books suck and they lose interest. They believe in me, but they don’t actually care about the books I’m writing. I’ve somehow failed in ways that these other authors haven’t…
Yeah, I know.
For one, everyone’s experience is different. Two, I have no idea, when an author thanks someone for their support, what that support looks like. It could be reading every draft they’ve written of every book they’ve written. It could be texting them and asking how writing is going. Or it could be cooking meals so they have extra time to write or telling them they believe in them, even if they haven’t read a single word they’ve written. Just because my support looks different doesn’t make it less. Just because I read about someone else’s Mom reading their novel in one sitting doesn’t mean my novel is suddenly worse because mine doesn’t.
Guess what, brain?
Support comes in all different forms and just because mine is different than what I read about and see (and don’t fully understand) doesn’t make it any less important, meaningful or real. So let’s back up on the self-pity and novel-deprecation, okay?
You see what I mean?
Through comparison, it’s so easy to take something good: like my healthy, loving relationship with my boyfriend or the amazing belief, faith and support I get from those close to me with my writing; and suddenly become insecure or question how those relationships and that support works, simply because it doesn’t match up 100% to those similar to it I’ve witness or seen and believe to be good, as an outsider. Obviously, that’s a silly thing to do, because I do have a wonderful boyfriend who treats me right, loves me and is fantastic…even if he doesn’t use social media to shout out those truths or he doesn’t always text me back. I do have a great support system with my writing from my parents, sibling, close friends and boyfriend…even if they haven’t read the books I’ve written.
It’s time to stop comparing what I have to what others have and instead, remember and look at what I have and been thankful and cherish that. Because honestly? I’m really damn lucky and I’m tired of my brain trying to convince me otherwise.