To the Anxious, Overthinker. This Ones For You.

Yeah, she seemed really nice about it, but what will she be saying behind my back? She must think I’m a loser.

My mind wandered. And when I say wandered, I mean really wandered. Like, past the confines of typical, logical thought. That was pretty much how my mind functioned, especially when it came to human interaction. I’m what you might wanna call a weirdo, or a socially-handicapped woman when it comes to relationships, especially with other women. I was the girl in high school who had a lot of guy friends, and worse, that awkward junior high kid who played with frogs and Barbies while their peers moved on to boys and blue eye shadow. I really held onto the Barbie dream house for far too long. Actually wish I had kept that thing. But I digress.

Point is, I didn’t grow out of a lot of my awkwardness. I just carried it onward to adulthood. I was the lady sitting beside the group of cool moms at the ballgame trying to think of something clever to add to the conversation.

Maybe just be really nice, Brie. That should work. 

“Hi. How are you today?” I ask cheerfully to the nearest mom.

A very pregnant her replies, “I’m so hot. I’m ready to have this baby already!”

“Me too!!” I reply too eagerly, a huge grin plastered across my face.

You’re not pregnant, moron! I chastise myself, but quickly go over how to save the conversation in my head. Yes that sounds good, Brie. 

Oh, she’s already turned around talking to that other woman. 

Is that other woman looking at me?

I’ll bet she told her what a social idiot I am. 

Plus I’m wearing my shirt from college. That was twenty years ago. Maybe they’ll think it’s vintage chic. I mean, except for the boogers. 

Just smile!

Oh God, they’re laughing now. 

Yeah, that’s me.

Recently there was a misunderstanding between a co-worker and I. Immediately I went into panic mode. Aside from being socially inept I also hate confrontation. Loathe it, in fact. My husband is so lucky. Typically if I’m in an altercation or disagreement I will go into a mental shutdown. I never have the cool comeback when someone is a jerk. I mean, I think it. Later. After they’ve already left my sight.

Oh yeah, well at least I have enough confidence in myself to not try and make others look stupid so I feel better about me!

Yeah, that’s so true. That’s what I should have said. Next time that’s what I’ll say. 

But aside from never getting my point across adequately I also have a tendency (make that a huge tendency) to create more of the situation than is required. Like, in a situation the person who hurts me will have probably already long forgotten our conversation. They’ve moved on, and I have too. I moved on to the part where I dwell on it for anywhere from 8-36 hours, roughly.

Like an amusement park of emotions

I’ll replay the entire scenario. I’ll do a slo-mo play-by-play in my head. What did I do wrong, what could I have done better, and will this person now hate me forever? Will they tell all their friends to hate me?

I have gotten better at this over the years, actually. At forty I’ve reached a place where I don’t care much what people think. Unless it’s hurting my witness as a Christian it doesn’t matter much to me. But that anxious, overthinker? She’s still in there somewhere too. She’s comes out every now and again.

And such was the case with my most recent misunderstanding with a coworker. I reached out almost immediately to explain the situation, apologize, and try to smooth things over. It only took her about five minutes to respond. Naturally those were the longest five minutes known to man. In that tiny block of time, I imagined what she must be thinking about me! I imagined extended scenarios. You think I’m a writer?! You should see the stuff in my head that never comes out. It’s a cross between William Shakespeare and reality television on TLC.

After my friend responded back quickly and kindly with understanding, I felt a sweet surge of relief. Until the anxious, overthinker tried to kick in.

Does she really mean, “no worries?”

She’s probably telling our other coworkers how stupid I am right this minute!

In my moments of accelerated ridiculousness of inner dialogue I have to talk myself off the ledge. I have to remind myself what I’ve learned about my character as it’s been molded by Christ. I have to remember I’m a daughter of the King. So if my crown gets a little crooked, I just have to readjust it. And my thought processes. I’m kind of a major work in progress. Sometimes I think if I could look around in there with a flashlight I’d see a “Men at Work” construction sign. Or rather a “The Son of Man at Work” sign.

I would like to think I’m not the anxious, overthinker I used to be. But I also know I’m not the non-anxious, level-headed thinker I need to be. I know God made me think about the world the way I do for a reason, and as I find my balance between empathy and being overly consumed by emotions, I will hopefully learn how to best relate to all of God’s people. That’s what I’m going with anyway.

Until next time, world!

Gosh, they’re probably gonna think you’re stupid because of this blog, Brie. Sheesh. 

Read more: http://faithit.com/anxious-overthinker-brie-gowen/