Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Discovery

This article on the value of negative emotions makes for interesting reading. Particularly the study on people who tend to suppress thoughts

Subjects also completed a measure of their tendency to suppress thoughts. The researchers found that those who restrained their thinking more often had stronger stress responses to the cues than did those who suppressed their thoughts less frequently.

This seems consistent with my own experience. For about ten years I tried not to think about the elephant in the room - where was my life headed. It was a difficult question to answer, I controlled almost none of variables involved and most importantly to answer that question I would need to answer why I was where I was. The thin veneer of tranquility in my life would dissolve very quickly if I let myself dwell on any of that. 

I did better than suppress. I submerged every possible "negative" and "distracting" thought in the endless cycle of work. There was no empty space in the day in which to think. Every waking minute was spoken for - there was always more stuff to be done than I ever had time for. 

At some point, nature forces empty space in which you are made to think. I experienced that briefly and it was deeply unsettling. But with my escape hatch closed for the time being, I had to answer why I was where I was. Self discovery can be a lot like plowing a long untended garden over-run by weeds. It is a ways to go before you can plant your flowers.

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