Are You in Control of Your Thoughts?
Do you ever feel like there’s someone out there (or maybe a few people) who are just waiting for you to fail? And it’s not necessarily a person who dislikes you or is against you, because that would almost be easier to deal with. Instead, it’s a person who is supposed to love you, and you feel like instead of supporting you, they’re pointing out all the ways you could fail and then are patiently waiting for something to go wrong so they can “lovingly” say “I told you so.”
Does that mess with your head? It can really mess with mine. These people are supposed to be my biggest fans. Why are they tearing down my good ideas? Why are they sucking out my energy? Why don’t they believe in me?
This has plagued me for a long time, but lately I’m starting to realize: they have absolutely no control over me. This is something probably all of you can nod and agree with, but how easily can you really apply it to your own life?
I ask because when I’ve had conversations where other people were saying the same thing about someone in their own life, I would be vigorously nodding in agreement, saying “of course they don’t have control over you! You are your own person!” But then when it came to my own life, it was different. Think about it. When it’s your life, your people, your issues, it’s different. It’s complicated. Oh how the clarity fades when gazing upon yourself! Because you know all the details. You know how it gets complicated, and therefore, very difficult or “impossible” to deal with.
But here’s the thing: as easy as it is for us to look at another person and see how they are in control of their own lives, that is equally as true for ourselves, and yet more difficult to see. But really, it actually doesn’t matter if the person you feel is waiting for you to fail is your best friend, sibling, parent or other significant person in your life - they don’t live your life, so they don’t control it.
I don’t easily say this. It has taken me years and many, many conversations with people who were more advanced in their mental health than I was, for me to finally and truly realize the reality that I control my life. Not my mom, not my husband, not my ex-boyfriend or random person that used to call me names in the hallways of high school, but me. I get to determine what kind of person I am.
Here’s another thing though: when I’m not mentally functioning well, I need the strength and expertise of someone else who can help bring clarity to my life. We all need to be taught how to handle our own thoughts, because that’s what everything is born out of. If I’m convinced that I’m not going to be happy, I will find a way to be unhappy. If I’m convinced that I’m not in control of my life, then I will find a way to not be in control of my life. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Just think about that. And I mean really think about it. Do your head and feelings a favour and be honest with yourself. Are you in control of your thoughts? Do you want to help yourself? Are you open to the countless options for help that are out there, or are you too busy burying your head in the sand and complaining that you can’t see anything?
Personally speaking, I’ve spent so much time convincing myself that my case was so unique, no one could help me. The term “but you don’t understand what I’ve been through” has rolled around my head and fallen out of my mouth more times than even a calculator could compute. I get it. I get that feeling. And I have stories I could tell you about my life that would give you a dull, sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. But those stories and that past life aren’t true for me anymore. They don’t control me anymore.
I got help. I got honest with myself. I’m not saying I’ve arrived. I’m not saying I’m all done the healing process. But I am saying that I am healing and there is help out there for any kind of hurt. It’s there, you just have to be brave enough to look for it. I know that’s difficult, it’s supposed to be. And that’s ok. I’m here for you and I’m not the only one.
Take care of yourself.
Ruth McMullen is the creator and host of Optimistically Depressed a podcast where mental health, hurt, life philosophies and anything in between can be discussed without shame. Ruth, is an advocate for mental health and has openly shared her journey with depression.