Monday, July 28, 2014

The Need to Know

Our need to know what is or will happen is astonishing. I say “our” because I’m assuming you have it too, but I definitely have a strong drive to know. I can’t stand the gray area, I like to know if I’m in the black or the white.  I see it at work at company’s where senior management is secretive and doesn’t maintain transparency into company strategy or changes. Employees become suspicious and gossipy - forever speculating on what might be unfolding. It’s a loss of productivity that could be avoided if they understood the strategy and surrounding events and knew how their position contributed to the big picture.

Obviously in my life, I see it most with guys. I can’t stand not knowing where things stand. And even when all of the evidence points to an answer, I second guess it, citing that things could turn on a dime in any second.  Maybe it is fall out from my the shock of the affair or the 3 days notice I had to the end of my marriage, but the constant need to know what will happening (to control the situation) is boundless.

I’ve written aboutthis need to know/need for control many times and I still struggle with it to this day. Pema Chodron has developed an entire series of books that help people stay with an emotion in the moment but release the story line. Everything doesn’t have to be explained. Staying in the gray is just fine. It may be uncomfortable but action doesn’t need to be taken to escape the discomfort.

I, for one, am impulsive. I impulsively act on the discomfort. Which then, ironically, leads me to more discomfort. Rather than refraining from action and waiting to see what unfolds, I impulsively react, thus forcing a situation forward, perhaps to a conclusion that I was not hoping for.

I wish I had the answer of how to stop. I suspect Pema Chondron does, as well as Jack Kornfield - probably even Oprah.  Right now all I have is the awareness of my thoughts. And some tools to help slow me down. Running or meditating every day to bring me back into the present moment. To maintain a sense of myself. To learn more about myself.

As I sit here writing this all down, I have a ball of anxiety in my belly. Wondering what is going on, what is going to happen next. Will the new guy text me? Does he like me? Will we hang out again?  I have the urge to text every friend I have, looking for their insight and predictions of how a situation will unfold. Surely someone has a crystal ball to tell me what will happen.  But I’m trying to refrain. Refrain from seeking their reinforcement that a positive outcome is on its way. Refrain from seeking their soothing that there is no need to worry. I’m trying to just acknowledge the anxiety for what it is - uncomfort in the gray area. And remember that in this moment, I’m still breathing. I’m still typing. I’m still me. And nothing that will happen will change that.

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