The tempest within has no measure on the tempest without, navigating the storms of doubt and fear is a constant war within the mind.
A war we would never really conquer except in eternal sleep, for you see when you win the battle on the soil of ‘education’, they show up once again on mount relationship, and when you have conquered the mountain tops they show up on finance valley, a mutating opponent with the ability to infiltrate any shadow. The beauty of the human mind however, lies in its ability to learn and relearn fighting techniques should the commander choose to do so.
For example, when fear says there isn’t enough money to do X,Y and Z the mind might counter by reminding itself that it has at least achieved A – W. It might choose to be content and plan ahead to ensure better savings for the future, so it can get to X,Y,Z.
Or when doubt creeps into your relationship making you question the decision to fight for it, the mind might remind you that nothing good in life comes without a commensurate effort.
These examples are positive, but the mind doesn’t always work that way sometimes it drives the seeds of doubt and fear well into fruiting season. Are all doubts burdensome? Are all fears mind terrors? Not really.
Fear and doubt are road signs on life’s highway. They warn us of potential hazards, dangers or changes ahead. Road signs usually come in appropriate sizes, color schemes and lettering that pass across the intended message without distracting us. Ideally this is what fear and doubt should do, they should bring to our minds the likely changes to be encountered ahead. Giving us ample time to adjust our speed, reestablish our travel time or pick an alternative route.
When we start to overthink these warning signs they become ginormous billboard signs with all the trimmings; flashing lights and bellowing soundtracks. The intended message gets lost in the cacophony of our dis-quietened mind. We abandon the journey or worse make a Gordian knot of our directions such that we forget where we were headed initially.
Sometimes we overthink these signs because we do not understand the intended message or are too impatient to decode them. At this point it is important to ask questions, to pull up on the road side or slow our pace until we understand the message. I often fall into the trap of assuming what the message is in my haste to move forward, a vital error to avoid as it can be very expensive.
I have learnt and still in the process of learning to avoid the major hazard called overthinking.
Flash lights that indicate that I am overthinking:
- Most of my thoughts are based on assumption, assumptions has its place, but certain things can still be ascertained.
- Most of my thoughts dwell more on past endeavors, whether past failures or victories.
- My mind can’t seem to see past the present moment, everything seems like it’s come to a final halt. This is rarely true, except in death there is always a way forward.
- The potential disaster keeps growing in my mind.
- I focus more on what others think rather than what the best outcome would be in the situation.
Don’t obliterate your fears or doubts, weave their cautionary calls into the moral lessons of your story. Don’t obliterate them, don’t overthink them.
So thank you fear, anytime doubt. Don't let them own you, learn to mold them in your favour.
Published by Chioma Nwafor