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  • Writer's pictureHannah Vindigni

For a Pessimist, this is Pretty Optimistic

Have you ever really considered the amount of thoughts your brain processes in a day? There is a literal stream of constant dialogue between our ego and our inner selves. I won’t get too technical, but I paid a lot of money for my degree in psychology (that I literally never use) so go ahead and appease me and let me break down to you what I mean. The initial theory comes from Sigmund Freud (I know…kinda an over sexualizing quack, but some of his theories are still prominent in psychology today). His main prominent theory including the theory of our ego.

Our ego is our “rational” state of mind. It is the self that is in contact with the external world. The main task of your ego is self-preservation, and it is easily influenced and wounded by the outside world. It’s that anxious voice that constantly asks “what if”. It fears judgment, it’s anxious, and it can be full of self doubt. It is in constant battle with our intuition. Our quiet and sometimes silent “knowing” that we all experience. That initial gut feeling that we are always told to trust, but rarely ever do. Our ego drowns out her whisper with its loudest megaphone.

I dove back into this theory because I came to a moment of self awareness…I am (or was) extremely negative. Not only that, but I loved to overthink. My wounded ego had certainly taken over the thoughts inside my head and they were now a prisoner of war. If there was a rabbit hole that my brain could possibly spiral down, it was going to. And I am talking about a really deep dive into a dark abyss of negativity, self doubt, fear, anxiety, and sometimes even self-loathing. It was a long and endless domino effect of unhealthy and overwhelming thoughts.

In sitting back and taking time to evaluate my anxious thoughts, I quickly realized my wounded ego was controlling my day. I was in a pattern of self sabotage and self betrayal, and quite honestly I was one more spiral away from a grippy sock vacation.

How can one “heal” a mind they have no control over? It was like a rabid dog off it’s leash. Gnashing and gnawing and chewing away until all that was left was a full out brawl. I had truly never noticed that something as small as one passing negative thought really had the power to destroy my day. Why? Well, because it wasn’t “passing” at all. I was inviting it in for dinner and preparing it my best meal. And hell! Why stop at that? Why not stay for dessert, and maybe sleep in the guest room for a while?

My negative thoughts and wounded ego had found a home in me, and I was making sure they felt very welcome. Worse than that, they were like squatters. Even when I wanted them to leave, they wouldn’t. They dug in their heels, ate all the groceries in the pantry and didn’t even offer to pay rent. I had all but lost hope that my unwelcome guests wouldn’t stay forever.

In my attempts to “clean house” it occurred to me. The thoughts themselves? I had no control over. They crashed like waves and popped up like summer storms. But maybe I could control the way I responded and reacted. What if I could let them pass by? Maybe I could even swat them away like a perfectly harmless, albeit annoying, fly.

A switch flipped and I began to form a new habit. I didn’t ignore the negative thoughts, no. A lot of times the things you ignore grow bigger and become even more annoying. No, I didn’t ignore them. I told them hello, and then quickly said goodbye. I acknowledged them, and then I let them go. Giving them no more energy and no more attention. I let them pass like a cloud in the sky. I let them be exactly what they are- a powerless, harmless, passing thought. And the less energy I gave them, the quicker they passed. Without a welcome mat, they chose not to stay. My very loud and negative ego began to grow smaller…and quieter….and I could finally hear my true self, my intuition,that was there all along. She was quiet for some time….I might even say silent. But it’s hard to speak up when you’re being overpowered by a loud and prominent ego.  It’s hard to speak up when you’re not often heard.

I have been learning to listen to her a little more, and my days have been brighter. I’m finding the silver lining and finding joy in the mundane. Someone might even say I’m….optimistic???

Well, I won’t get carried away. But there is a shift for sure. I guess only time will tell. But I really must be going now…. I’m having my intuition over for dinner.

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