I often have people come to me believing that they have obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD. These people tell me they obsess about negative thoughts or memories endlessly looping through their minds. They describe it as living life looking through the rearview mirror. If you feel this way, you may believe the obsession itself is the worst thing possible, and it certainly can seem that way. I think, however, it can be a positive trait.
In my non-medical opinion, I believe being obsessive can be a fantastic trait to have. I have yet to meet a single successful person who does not have obsessive thinking. The difference is, someone who is obsessive about positive outcomes, goals, and ideas is the person who succeeds.
Typically a person will come to me complaining they continuously think about some mistake they made over and over until they are driving themselves crazy. Usually, the thought makes no logical sense, so you are unable to “think” your way out. Sometimes this leads a person to feelings of depression and thoughts of suicide.
In my experience, what has happened to a person with this type of obsession or pattern is they are obsessed with negative thinking as a way to punish themselves for something that happened when they were a child. They had some experience, which made them believe they were a bad person. Over and over, I’ve worked with people to remove limiting and negative beliefs only to have them start succeeding beyond their wildest expectations.
Once the negative beliefs or limiting beliefs have been removed, and the person can forgive themselves or release that belief they are a terrible person, can they live life to the fullest. Otherwise, it’s akin to leaving the safety of the harbor while your ship is anchored to the seafloor; it’s not going to happen. Pull as much as you want, and you are only going to go so far in each direction.
Maybe your anchor chain is long, and you can reach farther than other people, for a time. Usually, you’ll find yourself right back to where you were before, no matter how far you go. Your obsession with negative thinking about yourself will never allow you to move forward until you get obsessed with what is possible. Get obsessed with what you are capable of rather than beating yourself up for something that happened when you were younger.
The point is, if you are obsessed with some thought or memory, figure out why you are punishing yourself and learn to accept yourself. With acceptance, the thoughts no longer affect you.