Something’s got-you-by-the-tail. It’s got you swimming around in that head of yours - around and around and around.
You just keep swimmin’, just keep swimmin’, just keep swimmin’…
What-oh-what do you do about it?
Ignore it. Yes, you read that right. Ignore it.
“That doesn’t make any sense”, you say. “I’ve always thought about what’s bothering me. In fact, I find it hard not to talk about it. I want to talk about it, and I’ve been told by so many other wise humans that talking about it makes it go away. And so I do it often. A lot. Isn’t that what I’m supposed to do?”
I mean ignore it – for awhile. Set it aside; think less about it – until you feel better.
When you’re talking about what’s bothering you, what are you talking about? What’s bothering you. And how do you feel? Bothered.
Let’s say you have some fish in a tank - catfish. In this example, the catfish represent what you’re bothered about. The catfish (the subject you’re bothered about) keep being fed by you and they swim, swim, swim about. The way you feed them is through your thoughts, through your attention to them, and by talking about them to anyone who’ll listen...your mom, your coach, your brother, your friend, your significant other…even the guy or gal you just met at the laundromat while you were sorting through their underwear.
The more you feed the catfish, the more actively they swim about. You feel like you have no control over how much you feed the catfish. Those catfish seem to have control over you. The more active they are, the more you feel you need to feed them. The more you feed them, the more active they are. The more active they are, the more you feed them. The more you feed them, the more active they are.
Have I made my point?
As a result of all of that feeding, there aren’t just those catfish in the tank - the catfish have multiplicified!
You see a multiplicity of catfish (things you’re bothered about) that just seemed to randomly join the other ones. But it’s not random, because the catfish come where the food is. Now, you’re aware of more catfish and you’re more bothered than you were before.
If you stop feeding the catfish (please don’t stop feeding the real catfish if they’re in your tank - I’m referring to what you’re bothered about in this example) those catfish will eventually become less active, only surfacing if you give them your attention. The less active they are, the less compelled you are to feed them.
Again, you argue for your limitations and say, “Stop feeding them? But I need to feed them, don’t I? I can’t just stop…feeding them. That would just be SO wrong.”
Well maybe so, but does it make sense to you that you’d stop being bothered the more you thought about what was bothering you? Ya, I thought so.
The more you think about what’s bothering you, the more bothered you feel and the more you feed the things that are bothering you. You’ll find a whole lot more fish in that tank.
“More catfish!? But I don’t want more catfish!”, you shout.
So you must stop feeding the catfish.
Is there anything not bothering you that you can think about? Is there anything that feels good to think about?
Does your dog, pet snake, or cute hamster bother you? Feels good to think about their wet noses? Think away.
Do your heated pink slippers bother you? Ooooh, they feel so good.
Go ahead - imagine your feet all comfy-cozied in them.
Do the real fish in your fish tank bother you? They’re so colorful and they’re like twinkling stars…only they aren’t stars.
Get-on with thinking about them.
Do you like movies? How about being outside?
Playing with your kids? ...except for that one thing they do that bothers you…
Hang with your friend? Oh, right, you just want to talk about the things that bother you with your friend…
It may seem difficult not to feed the catfish, (think or talk about those bothersome things), but if you let-off on the food for awhile, soon the catfish will be replaced by other colorful, lively fish like Nemo or Dora - you know, as in the movie Finding Nemo…?
Once you feel better, the fish that appear will be different, and you can feed them all you want. You’ll find that the more you feed them, the more you want to feed them, and more of those fish will come.
Soon, you’ll have a tank-full of Nemos and Doras and you’ll know for sure that you prefer feeding the fish that you like in your tank while those bothersome catfish become a fish of the past.