The ability to say no to others is a common way people are taught to unburden themselves from taking on too many obligations. Be it social, business, or other tasks from the outside world that don’t need to be your responsibility. You can learn about the ins-and-outs of this form of saying no pretty much anywhere.
When it comes to OCD, the overburdening of daily life comes most often from within. Of course, there is an external stimulus that feeds OCD. For some, it is primarily an external stimulus. But in the end, the burden of responsibility is built in the brain.
It is very important to first—before all else—envision the division between your brain and the world outside your brain. What goes on in one is affected by the other (both ways), but realizing that a division is there is tremendously important.
Let’s keep with the most stereotypical and simple example. This is not to say dealing with any of this is simple. It isn’t. OCD makes what should be simple into something complex. But we’ll keep with the “simple” label relating to the example.
Cleaning the house. Keeping the house clean. Having a clean house. Needing a clean house. Needing things to be organized and right. Needing others to keep up on what has been done to keep the house organized and right.
Two things going on here:
1. The cleanliness and organization of the house
2. Your perception of the cleanliness and organization of the house
The formula above adds only “your perception” to the second value. Everything else is the same. We’re still dealing with “the cleanliness and organization of the house” in each, but they are distinct situations.
Apply this to any situation. Separate your perception and consider it its own thing. Both are important, we’re not looking to eliminate either. But we are going to focus on the second item more so than the first.
The house is as clean as it is. It is as organized as it is.
Here’s the thing: it is ok. Everything is ok. No matter what state things are in, they can be ok. And because they can be ok, we’ll consider them ok.
This does not mean you should stop organizing or cleaning your house. Chances are you’re not going to stop.
However, you need to separate the perception from reality. The reality is. It is ok as it is. It can be better, it can be worse, but it is ok.
Your brain does not see it this way most likely. Your brain is filled with thoughts of what bad can happen if the house remains as clean as it is—which is not clean enough.
You may think things are contaminated. Things are rotting. You may fear being judged by guests. There are probably a thousand other similar thoughts of eventualities regarding the effect of the state of the cleanliness and organization of the house.
However, you need to separate the “effect of” as part of your perception.
And you need to say no to your perception. Somehow, some way. Everyone needs to find the mental strength to say no in their own way. And it will be difficult.
Your goal is to realize that your perception is a different entity than the reality. The reality isn’t important to OCD, so why not go with that separation and realize that since your mind is going to control everything anyway, focus on using your energy to force it into submission.
Tell your brain no. In this example, tell your brain you’re going to accept the current state of cleanliness and organization of the house no matter what.
And keep to it! Be stubborn with your brain!
The reality is ok. It can be changed, but it doesn’t need to be. No one at all says it needs to be other than you. So remove the “need” part. Realize that the formula is:
2. Your perception of (Situation)
And tell your brain no.
Until it gets it: