“You think too much!”
That’s what one of my friends told me during a heated argument a few years back.
I was totally convinced that she had betrayed me in some way and it had all spilled out during a heated conversation.
I can’t even remember what the argument was about, but I know that it was a turning point.
It was when I started to recognise my tendency for overthinking – even to the point of paranoia.
You see, when you combine severe social anxiety with overthinking, then you end up like me.
And I was so convinced of the small signs that my friend was betraying me in some way that I never stopped to consider how my overthinking was hurting me.
In fact, my overthinking was a huge reason why my confidence was so low at the time.
So, today I want to share with you how overthinking ruins your confidence and how to stop overthinking.
How Overthinking Ruins Your Confidence
So, for me, I used to overthink even the smallest things.
I would see a strange look or a shift in body language or a word out of place in a text message and I would immediately start overthinking.
No matter how illogical the thought, I would follow it to it’s conclusion – which was usually anxiety and depression.
So, if you’re an overthinker like me, you might be suffering in all sorts of ways.
For example, you might not be able to sleep because your mind is tumbling from thought to thought.
You might be finding it hard to trust people because you’re always looking for signs of betrayal.
In fact, you might even see signs everywhere and feel like there’s no one to trust.
Overthinking probably follows you into every area of your life.
And I could probably list a hundred more examples of overthinking.
But let’s get into the specifics of how overthinking ruins your confidence.
Overthinking Takes You Away From The Moment
One of the best ways to find your confidence is to stay present in the moment.
It allows you to see things as they truly are.
And when you’re present, you can neither project yourself forward into the future or into your past, therefore robbing your anxious and depressive thoughts of their power.
However, overthinking pulls you away from the present and forces you into thought loops about the past or future.
Here’s an example of how that might affect you:
Let’s say you’re at a job interview.
The interviewer is telling you a little bit about the company, but you’re starting to overthink.
On the outside, you’re nodding along but on the inside it’s a totally different story.
You’re being consumed with thoughts like:
“Is my tie on straight?
Wait, don’t look at it or he’ll know you weren’t listening.
But what if he thinks that I’m incompetent?
After all, if I can’t even put on my tie straight, what hope do I have of running his clients’ accounts?
I’m such an idiot.
And a loser.
My friends were right.
I could never get a job like this.
What am I doing?
I’m just wasting my time and his time.
God, I’m such a loser.”
And then the interviewer asks, “So, what part of that do you think you’ll find most challenging?”
Of course, now you can’t answer because you hadn’t heard a single thing he said.
Your overthinking had ripped you away from the present moment.
And now, you have to deal with the embarrassment of asking the interviewer to repeat what he just said or trying to blag your way through.
Instead, if you had been in that present moment then you could have genuinely responded.
So, that’s the first way that overthinking can ruin your confidence.
Overthinking Causes Analysis Paralysis
I love the term “analysis paralysis”!
Never before has something described overthinking so accurately.
Let’s say you’re at a bar and you see an attractive girl there that you want to talk to.
You’ve made up your mind that you want to get to know her.
And then analysis paralysis kicks in.
“What am I going to say to her? Should I say ‘hello’ or should I say ‘hi’? Should I tell her my name first or ask for her name? Do I tell her that I think she’s beautiful or is that too corny? Should I stand on her left or the right? Maybe I should offer to buy her a drink.”
And you just keep on overthinking for minute after minute.
And while all of this overthinking is going on, someone else just walks over and starts to talk to her.
The opportunity is gone and you feel even worse now.
And you’ve probably guessed that this is based on a real life situation of my own.
In fact, this used to happen to me time and time again.
I would overanalyse a situation and never end up taking any action because I waited too long.
Why does this happen?
Well, when you take in so much data you start to overload your mind.
After all, you now have to process all of this information otherwise you walk into the situation with uncertainty and that doesn’t feel great at all.
So, you stand completely still and take no action or delay until the opportunity has passed.
In both cases, you don’t get what you want.
Now, I’m going to take you to the solutions in just a minute but first we have to explore the third way that overthinking can ruin your confidence.
Overthinking Tricks You Into Perfectionism
When you’re overthinking or overanalysing a situation, what are you really doing?
You’re trying to figure out if there’s a perfect way to do something.
You’re taking in as much “information” as possible to try and find the best outcome for success.
Except, you’re not really doing that. It’s just your brain tricking you into perfectionism to stop you from doing something scary.
Something I had to learn over time is that I will never find the perfect way to do anything.
Because I simply can’t know everything!
And the same is true for you.
There is no perfect way to do the things in life that you feel uncertain about.
At a certain point, you just have to confront them and just do it.
So, now that we've covered how overthinking ruins your confidence, let's explore how to stop overthinking and take action?
How To Stop Overthinking Everything
The “5-Second Rule”
No, I’m not talking about quickly swiping up dropped food off of the ground.
I’m talking about an amazing book by Mel Robbins which gives you a simple rule to start taking more action.
When you know you want or have to do something, count down from 5 seconds and then launch yourself into action like a rocket.
And yes, it sounds very simple but simple is good sometimes.
So, instead of overanalysing the perfect way to talk to the girl at the bar, you just countdown from 5 and then walk over there and start talking.
Because what’s the worst that can happen?
At least you take a chance and took action and that’s a win no matter what she says to you.
If you want to check out her book, you can do that by clicking this link.
Accept That You’re Going To Make Mistakes
I know I’ve said this again and again, but I’ll keep saying it.
On your journey of self-improvement, you’re going to make mistakes.
You’re going to make A LOT of mistakes.
And that’s OK.
You see, if you don’t make mistakes then you’re not going to learn how to improve.
And I know that making mistakes seems scary, embarrassing or even dangerous.
But, I assure you that taking action is the ONLY way to make progress.
And then means you’ve got to make a ton of mistakes before you can find the best way for you.
So, don’t fall into the trap of overthinking how to take perfect action.
Imperfect real-life action is far superior than some perfect imaginary path that only exists in your mind.
So, accept that you’re going to make mistakes and start taking action now!
Recognise That Your Thoughts Are Only Thoughts
Ultimately, your thoughts aren’t real.
In my blog post on how to deal with irrational thoughts, I spoke about the idea of metacognition.
And I revealed that every single one of us has two minds: the thinker and the observer.
The thinker generates our thoughts (mostly automatically) and the observer sees those thoughts.
And we can inhabit either of those two minds at any time.
But, as the thinker, we tend to get swept away in the flow of our thoughts. So much so that we start to think of those thoughts as who we are.
But, as the observer, you come to realise that thoughts are just as impermanent as everything else.
They come, they go and mostly mean absolutely nothing.
By spending more time observing your thoughts rather than living in them you will begin to recognise that you are not them.
Therefore, spending time being washed away with the flood of thoughts is going to hurt you in the long term.
So I would advise you to start spending more time simply observing your thoughts as they are and then taking action anyway.
Final Thoughts On How Overthinking Ruins Your Confidence
Overthinking has ruined many people’s lives.
Because of our tendency to identify with our thoughts, we can easily allow ourselves to be swept away by them.
So, start taking them to observe your thoughts for what they are.
Accept that you’re going to make mistakes and that it’s OK if you do.
And, above all else, take action.
You never know where life is going to take you next.
I hope you've found this post on how overthinking ruins your confidence to be useful and I look forward to seeing you back on LTUK very soon!
If you’re ready to:
- Take your life and confidence to the next level
- Achieve your goals faster than you ever thought was possible
- Finally overcome self-doubt and become the person you’ve always known you could become
Then Confidence Coaching is the way to do it!
So, if you’re ready to work together to crush your obstacles, 10x your confidence and live a life that you love, make sure you check out the Work With Me page and arrange a FREE Discovery Call today!
Or alternatively you can contact me on my Facebook page!