For a very long time I have struggled with closure when it comes to past relationships. I thought I had a handle on it, it’s the feeling you get after a relationship has ended when you no longer think about the person, the relationship you held and no longer wish for the future you believed you would share with the person. This understanding seemed to cover it for a very long time, I just thought that I wasn’t very good at it. Closure was just a skill that I was deficit in.
But that’s really silly when I stop and think about it. There isn’t such a thing as closure. There’s “closure” but that’s a concept, talking point, mental state about which people talk like they have a common understanding of what it means. But I don’t think I have the same understanding of closure as a number of my friends, clients and even members of my family.
The state of mind “closure” is the “not really thinking about it in a negatively influential sort of way” that I always understood it to be. There’s mostly agreement about this.
Closure, or the action we take that allows us to reach the closure state of mind, is decisive action to commit to a different future that is based on a logical analysis of all the information available. It is decisive because you run through a check list of all the concerns, eliminating them one by one until there is no reason left NOT to commit to the new future. The doubt is eliminated by this thorough examination of the facts as you know them. If at some point in the future you were to question the decision, you can be confident that you don’t have to be concerned because you performed your due diligence. You’ll adapt and change based on new information, but you don’t need to think about it again unless you get new information. This is the process by which we get closure and achieve the closure state of mind.
When I chuck this realization into my brain and let it do battle with my world view, there is an exciting feeling that builds right where my unconscious mind materializes as awareness. The sense is that of a lightening of mind, a freedom, like I’m suddenly able to run again, and as I do, useless pieces of me are burning off and that helps me run faster. It’s like I’m escaping the gravity of something that was dark and I’m off into an open expanse of nothingness.
For the more scientifically minded, it’s like the mental energy that was being sapped by continuing to think about things that had not been properly analyzed and actioned on is now available for other tasks and this is experienced as a boost in brain processing efficiency.
The consequences of this are pretty cool. First off, you get to stop thinking about stuff that you shouldn’t have been thinking about anyway. Second, you get to feel better because you aren’t thinking or agonizing about this stuff. Finally, you are smarter in a relative sense because you do have more processing capacity, which will improve you concentration, memory, and other executive functions. Lumped together, these represent a huge improvement in the quality of life.
So if you’re stuck on something from the past or have gotten into something now to stop the pain of the past, that a few moments today to write-out the check list as to why you’ve close of that part of your life. You may be surprised to find that a much better quality of life is just one self-dialectic conversation away!