Wishful Thinking
July 22, 2007 8:42 AM   Subscribe

Help me get over my second-thoughts?

How do I not dwell on the fact that the decision I’ve made about a job that I’d talked about earlier is not worth thinking about. I know deep down that the work wasn’t something that I’d be comfortable doing in the long-term, and even in the short-term—it was taking its toll on me, but there’s still this part of me that craves the joy of going to work every morning. I’m still on the lookout for something that’s more suitable for my work-needs, and am busy studying for my exams right now, so how can I not be distracted with what “could’ve been”? (Maybe the company could’ve gotten its act together, which is what it was in the process of doing according to a manager of mine, if you can believe him.) How do I stop thinking along these lines?
posted by hadjiboy to Grab Bag (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
> How do I not dwell on the fact that the decision I’ve made about a job that I’d talked about earlier is not worth thinking about.

You mean you keep thinking about it even though there's no point in doing so? You focus your mind to other things: the possibilities for new work, the sense of satisfaction you'll get when you've got work to go to again, the fact that you did the right thing, the importance of better exam results. If necessary, add some thought stopping. "Get out of my mind." The unwanted thoughts (say, obsession about an unrequited love, or in your case your old job) are the enemy, a virus, and you need to rout them out. That said, maybe there is something to think about there. I have gone over and over thoughts sometimes, because they are important to me, and sometimes I got stuck in a loop sometimes and didn't find a new thought. Only you know which this is, but I think you said you want to stop thinking about it, so that may not apply to you.
posted by Listener at 9:50 AM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

Set aside some time to think specifically about these thoughts you are dwelling on. If the thoughts start to come to you randomly, tell yourself you will think about them only during your specified time. When the time comes, find a quiet place with no distractions. And then focus on your decision, and nothing else. Write about it, maybe about pros and cons of your decision, or really anything about it that comes to mind. When the time is up, stop thinking about it. Put your writing away. Do this every day until you can understand that you had reasons to make the decision you did.

I'm not sure how much you are ruminating on these thoughts, but they won't go away by ignoring them. My suggestion to focus on them during a time that you define comes from the therapy I went through for OCD. It's a way of taking control of the thoughts, and to better understand your decision by working with them.
posted by veronitron at 11:37 AM on July 22, 2007

I wrote something about stopping annoying thoughts here. There's other good advice in that thread. Try to avoid ruminating over this kind of thing as it can be depressive.

Something that worked for me the other day was to think of things I could really look forward to, even if it was a bit of a fantasy, it got me over the hump with some difficult thoughts.
posted by DarkForest at 6:55 PM on July 22, 2007

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