I Am My Own Fire Extinguisher

Me still thinking about that thing I said 4 hours ago.
Credit – GIPHY

Perhaps you’ve come to my site looking for mindfulness (or …. not), to get answers to your questions (also perhaps not), out of curiosity (more likely), or just to straight up snoop my writing chops (most likely). Perhaps you’ve ended up here with an overthinking mind of your own, looking to pour over the tales and blunders of someone with a similar lived experience. Someone who will tell you first-hand that if it were possible for a brain to overheat and smoke when too much overthinking takes place, mine would have caught fire a looooong time ago (Is something burning?).

Credit – GIPHY

I get it. Most people visit blogs because they want to learn more about a topic. Heck, I do that all the time – What would happen if I went through a black hole? Why do babies look like old men in renaissance paintings? Are scientists 100% positively, incredibly certain the Megalodon shark isn’t extinct?

I experience and explore mindfulness, express gratitude and practice meditation in my own free time. I enjoy researching and reading about aligning your chakras, the law of attraction, all that good stuff.

That’s about the brunt of my expertise.

Credit – GIPHY

I’m not saying you won’t learn anything by reading my blog. (Dumb blog, didn’t teach me anything).

But I will be straight with you.

I am not an expert on meditation, mindfulness, enlightenment or mental health. I am not a trained meditation teacher, though perhaps one day I will be. I am not a medical health professional, I am not a psychologist, nor am I a doctor (Have I lost you yet? Hey i’m just being honest!). I also will never claim to have all of the answers to stopping overthinking, anxiety and worry (if a full-stop of any of those is even possible, which I don’t believe it is). Help a gal out if you do have the answers though, cause uh… my brain’s on fire, yo.

Me meditating vs. my overthinking brain.
Credit – GIPHY

What I am is a human in progress. Not a work in progress, a human in progress. Some days I’m like friggin’ Snow White with the blue birds circling her head as she wakes up all bright-eyed and bushy tailed. Other days my head feels one step forward, two steps back. Sometimes the practice of journaling it out and “meditating out my ass” as I described it to my therapist, doesn’t cut it, so I then like to get creative, go for walks, talk it out with friends. I occasionally deal with things as well thanks to the help of my true loves, Ben & Jerry, or with a glass of wine… or two… or three…

In all seriousness, my mental health, especially overthinking, has held me back from reaching my potential. I know that sounds cliche’ and to my credit, I feel I have been successful in many ways so far in my short 27 years of life. But at the same time, I focus a lot of my energy on the potential negative outcomes of a situation, the worst case scenarios, the fears of what could go wrong. It makes sense if I am regularly in that mindset, then I will always be stuck at a certain point.

My sticky thoughts have eroded and ruined potential and existing relationships. I have entered into new relationships when I definitely was not mentally stable or emotionally prepared to be hopping into them. I was not able to be a strong, happy, confident, sassypants’d, supportive gal who was there for her partner. Now that I am single, I can reflect and recognize this – how can you emotionally invest your time and energy into the well-being and care of someone else, when you haven’t been emotionally invested in yourself to begin with? Despite it making simple sense (“you have to learn to love yourself first, before you love someone else” so the saying goes), I still find this to be an incredibly profound thought.

My mental health has also made me an unhappy, emotionally insecure person, which makes me feel quite sad and vulnerable to admit.

I deal with self-sabotage, I deal with insecurities, I deal with beating myself up more than I should if/when I mess up. As a result, it sometimes feels like the knowledge and practices I attempt to acquire and apply in my spare time, all pour out through my ear canals, and the information is lost. Normally when this happens, I fall back into old, stuck patterns of reacting before responding, when really… it should be the other way around. Thus, the process repeats itself.

This triggered me just looking at it but face your fears yo post it on your blog hahahahasdfg oh dear god.
Credit – GIPHY

But to overcome moments of stress, anxiety and overthinking, and to truly notice my negative thought patterns and behaviors, I recognize that working on myself is something which requires consistency – consistency through meditation, therapy, expressing gratitude and living in the present. I can’t expect new, healthier, positive patterns of thought and behavior to stick if i’m not consistent in practicing them. So while my mind may be smoking/on fire from overthinking, at the same time I can consistently work at being a metaphorical fire extinguisher to my mind and it’s thoughts.

I think at the same time allowing myself some wiggle room, practicing and allowing the space for self-compassion towards myself, my mind and my life, and recognizing that there is a certain grace in failure, would do me some good as well. Moving through the process of failure, knowing I will fail (it’s inevitable), and when it does, recognize that it is okay in the grand scheme of life. Of course, it’s the shits in the moment, but at the end of the day, I am only human.

This at the same time as being so mentally consumed by the fact that I mixed up my words and my sentence came out weird to my co-worker four hours ago when we were talking in the lunch room about our weekend plans and i’m over here convinced she thinks I don’t know proper English and i’m Still.Thinking.About.It. (HOW RELATABLE IS THAT).

Despite all of that, the big, heckin’ mess of being human… what I do know, is that I find myself embracing and loving the wonderful practice of meditation and all of the benefits it offers. I am passionate about the subject and I am passionate in sharing my lived experience, my dealings with mental health, how it has been more harmful than helpful, but ultimately what I am doing to improve it.

Be like Dwight Schrute – extinguish that which no longer serves you .

(overthinking thoughts, anxiety, colleagues who plank).

Credit – GIPHY

Overthinking my Blog about Overthinking

Overthinking my Blog about Overthinking

When I first got the idea to start lindsayenlightened, I was super focused on setting up the site (as i’d hope most people would be when it comes to setting up something new and exciting and amaze-balls): The design, having a catchy title, how to write great content, deciphering search engine optimization, who’s my target audience, which socials should I start growing first (ack so much to know, so much to do but I was GETTING. IT. DONE.).

But in the midst of all this planning, I worked myself up into a state of worry, concern and self-doubt, mainly stemming from factors to do with my ability to make the site a success. Like a perfectly timed meet-cue in a rom-com, thoughts full of self-doubt went hand in hand with my negative mental state. Thoughts like:

  • What if my niche isn’t specific enough?
  • I don’t have training or experience as a meditation/mindfulness teacher – what if people think i’m a fraud by talking about subjects I have no proper training in?
  • What gives me the right or authority to advise people of “how-to’s” and “what are’s” and “tips and tricks” when there’s nothing to separate me from readers besides my passion for the topics I’m covering?
  • I’m working through my own problems too – am I really in a position to be giving other people advice?
  • What if I can’t find topics to write about?
  • What if in 5 years I want to write about something else?
  • What if I don’t drive enough traffic to my site?
  • Even going so far as, I acknowledge I am writing about my mental health ruts from a position of white privilege, what if people feel excluded from my writings?

So. Many. What. If’s. Suddenly, the very site I created to assist myself and others in working through unhealthy mental habits such as overthinking, became the object of my overthinking.

Essentially I was overthinking about overthinking.

To top it all off, all of these thoughts of self-doubt, popped up before I even made the site live. That’s right, it’d been sitting idle in draft mode, while I stewed and second-guessed myself.

Despite all this, one thing I promised myself when starting this site was that I would be honest with myself and with people reading my blog about what I go through when I overthink, where the root of the thoughts comes from and working to move past them. By getting the thoughts out of my head and turning them into words I can see in front of me, it makes them a lot less real (this is why journaling works really well for me).

So, why was I so afraid and what was I so afraid of? First and foremost, at the root (hah I almost wrote toot, I’m a child) of all the thoughts was the fear of failure (Royal Highness of Whatif Land, reporting for her royal Whatif duties). I hadn’t failed yet and even further, I didn’t have anything to fail from, because I hadn’t even tried to begin with. As I type that now, it seems straight up irrational – if I had at least tried and failed, then perhaps my concern of failing would have been legitimate, but nothing had been set in motion. Even then, the negative connotation I associated with “failure” wasn’t actually warranted.

On the contrary, failure permits room for growth and learning (My real life self really needs to take a page from my internet self’s book, it’s hella insightful, turns out). If Oprah and Bill Gates and Stephen King were failures, and could come out of it alive and succeed, I probably could too (look ma i’m a failure yuk yuk yuk).

In addition to the fear of failure, it was also the fear of what people thought, which as much as I hate to admit it, other people’s opinions are something which I do take into consideration, quite a lot actually. I was also lacking confidence in my own abilities to produce great content that people will care about (which I know I’m capable of, I didn’t earn a university degree in Communications off of my winning looks and endearing quirky awkwardnessthat I know of at least).

Many of these thoughts were things which I couldn’t control in the moment. I realized that rather than fighting these thoughts, I could actually work in tandem with them. My authority stems from my own personal experience with these topics (which makes the authority all the more legit!). I can and will make mistakes and learn and fail as I go, I can build up my knowledge and ability to talk about and advise others on these topics. I love my niche too much to care if it’s specific enough or not. When I run out of topics, i’ll figure out more topics. If I don’t drive traffic to my site, i’ll learn how to drive more traffic. I think the fact I’ve got my own issues i’m working on (hey therapy, how you doin’), actually makes me more relatable to people going through similar situations. And this should go without saying too, but my writing is never to exclude people and if I do so, it is purely by accident and never intentional.

That all being said, I can’t worry about what will happen 5 years from now, I ain’t doing no time-travelling, Back to the Future shenanigans so that thought can just go fall right off a cliff for all I care – that’s actually one of the visuals you can use for sticky, overthinking thoughts – the more you know!

Any-who, the site is now live, so enjoy.