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What if there is no closure? Can we find peace in Ambiguity?

challenge communication managing emotions questions Aug 02, 2022

Hey everyone. Welcome to my latest post. This week I'd like to share my thoughts on finding peace in ambiguity when there is no way to bring closure to a particular event - like when a loved one dies and there are unresolved issues between the two of you.

Ambiguity, vagueness, uncertainty, and unfinished business are a part of everyone's life.

Of course, we all like it when we can place a period at the end of our sentences and be given answers to  ALL of our questions. 

My daughter Hannah is a long-distance runner and in one sense, we're all running a marathon through life. As we make our way around the track it's inevitable that an occasional pebble will find its way into our shoe. If we're running alone, we can always step off the track for a minute and remove it before returning to the race.

However, most of the time, family, friends, co-workers, and others run alongside us and they depend on us to maintain our pace. So there's little time to stop and step away from my life and our responsibilities.

There are also times when we run alone and a pebble gets tangled in the fabric of our shoe. In these instances, we could spend so much time trying to remove it that we actually rip a hole into our shoe and are unable to finish the race.

Then, we can spend our lives cursing our luck while we sit on the sidelines, as life and others pass us by. It's ok to step away from life for a short time and search for answers. But as the old-time comedienne,

W.C. Fields said, “If at first, you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. 

No use being a damn fool about it.”

In cases where you know you're only going to run in endless circles seeking answers to unanswerable questions, it's probably best to keep running and ignore the pebble.

Focusing on it only heightens our discomfort and makes the rest of the race a miserable experience. So,  when someone thinks or even says out loud, I NEED closure. That's a lie!

Do you know anyone who ever died from a rock in their shoe or from an unanswered question? How do you define NEED as in I NEED closure?" 

I would LIKE an answer but rarely is it an actual NEED. Recognize the impact of hyperbole or excessive exaggeration on the language we use to describe situations. 

Hyperbole can heighten our emotional response and make the situation SEEM more urgent than it is.

"If I don't get an answer I'm gonna die", is a highly unlikely occurrence.

It's very rare, that ANYONE dies when they don't get the answers they want. The only time I can see when an unanswered question could be fatal is if you ignore my request for a helping hand while I'm dangling from the side of a cliff. Otherwise, it's probably just hyperbole.

As long as we're alive, we're ALL running our own marathon. And it's inevitable that we'll accumulate our share of pebbles. 

Here are a few suggestions to address the pebbles in your shoes as you navigate your way through life. Ask yourself:

  • How much of my time do I want to spend searching for answers? If I find an answer in a reasonable amount of time - Great. But if I discover I'm seeking answers to  unanswerable questions? Place a time limit on the expedition into your impenetrable jungle. When the buzzer goes off call off the search.
  • A second question is this -- "How can I focus on the road ahead rather than the rock in my shoe?" Learning to live with the pebble can get easier when we allow some time for callouses to form.  This will make the discomfort more bearable. 

Feel free to like or share your thoughts on this subject and any of my other posts, and suggest topics of interest for future posts.

You might also consider joining our free Facebook Group, Women Leading the Way to an Amazing Life. My colleague Chelsey and I co-facilitate these free, weekly 30-minute meetings. every Thursday at 5 pm MST.

And as always please learn more about my coaching and counseling services.

Until then stay well and take care. 


PS: Click here for the Facebook Video of this presentation.

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