I am running a photo-a-day challenge over in the Happy Mind Army Facebook group at the moment as part of 'March To The Beat of Your Own Drum' – a month full of inspiring stuff to help you be who you are and love who you are – just as you are!
The aim of the photo challenge is to encourage you to share pictures of simple things like your shoes, the book you're reading, your hobby – all to help you feel proud and comfortable in your own opinions and choices and to take small steps towards overcoming any fears of being judged or any temptation to just join in with the trends and fall into line with everyone else.
Now, if you're not an overthinker or a people-pleaser this might seem like a bit of a daft exercise, a bit pointless. But if you are an overthinker or a people-pleaser, sharing even simple things like this can be the source of quite a lot of fear and anxiety.
Let me try and explain.
Day 2 of the challenge was to post a picture of your 'lunch' and this is the photo I took and shared.
Now, despite having quite a good grip on my own overthinking and fear of judgement, I am still naturally wired to do both quite frequently. So, the conversation in my brain when it saw the picture ready to post on Facebook went something like this...
'Oh, I don't think I will post this – what if people judge my living room and don't like it? They might think I am being lazy for watching daytime TV and think I am a bit stupid for watching This Morning. Maybe I should take another picture with the foot stool moved or straightened up? What if they look at my lunch and think 'no wonder she's fat, that egg looks fried?''
You see, posting a picture of your lunch can be a big deal for someone who overthinks, who wants to please people or who lacks in self-confidence. I can (a lot of the time) overcome this tendency to overthink everything so posted this picture without much hesitation, more confident in my own skin these days and not so concerned anymore what other people think (and also aware that most people won't even notice any of the things I am worried about anyway!) – but the fears were the first voices I heard in my mind and if I didn't have the tools to shut them up they would be the only voices I would hear (and I would never have posted the picture).
So, if you are an overthinker, a people-pleaser or lack in self-confidence (or have the full hat-trick like I do!) then believe me when I say I get it – and that I know what a brave thing it is for you to do to share simple things like this. And that is also the reason I am encouraging you to do so – because it is through little steps forward like this, every single day, that there can be massive positive changes to your mindset and your confidence. (So, if you haven't already, be brave enough to share a picture for the challenge – safely in a group full of people who will applaud you for it).
And if you're not an overthinker or plagued by a fear of being judged, but are in a relationship or friendship with someone who is, please use that picture of my lunch as a reminder of what your friend or partner has going on in their mind over the simplest of tasks. They're not being stupid, or oversensitive, or daft or doing it just to get on your nerves.
I am the first to now recognise that my own mind battles like this are irrational and I now have a massive awareness of my own tendencies to overthink (which is why I also have more control over it and can stop it paralysing me like it used to) but when I was held hostage by it, being told to stop being so silly, or made to feel stupid for not being able to just get on with the simplest thing just gave me another stick to beat myself with.
So, if you share your life with an overthinker please be gentle with them and give them some patience. Encourage them to rationalise and overcome their habits rather than fuelling them and remind yourself that just because something seems easy and straightforward to you, doesn't mean it does to them.
I am so passionate about the Happy Mind Army because I know you don't have to stay paralysed by overthinking, low self-esteem or the need to please everyone and I would urge every overthinker out there to join us and start working towards taking back control of those tendencies right now – and I would urge every friend or partner of an overthinker or someone with low self-esteem to understand and support them to do it.
Together, we can do it!
* You can join the FREE Happy Mind Army Facebook group here where you will find the 'March To The Beat of Your Own Drum' challenge and find loads more inspiring stuff to help you build your own happier, healthier mind.
* For more indepth content, including inspiring artwork ,ebooks and workbooks to help you start implementing mindset changing techniques straightaway you can sign up right now for the Happy Mind Army Members' Club – which is available at the moment for an unbelievable monthly price.