My natural impulse is to avoid unpleasant thoughts. Due to an incident some years ago this has also become an avoidance of potentially unpleasant thoughts.
Today I confronted an unhappy situation at work, during which I denied a requested leave. The employee resigned and we agreed that Friday would be his last day. About an hour later, while his manager was in a meeting, he left his work papers on her desk and left the building without saying a word to any responsible person.
This is bizarre behavior, and I would have liked to push the unpleasant thoughts from my mind. Instead, I dwelt upon them and reflected on the behavior of everyone involved. I spent good time considering the situation, revisiting every word, look and action.
Later I realized that this process was an examination not to assign blame, or to doubt my decision or behavior. Instead, it was an exercise in finishing the situation, attempting to learn something useful from what was superficially a losing confrontation for both myself and the employee. Paradoxically, I experienced a deep relief that the situation resolved as it did – even though this means I am short an employee during a very busy time at work when I have a lot of deadlines. The relief was that the problem is resolved, and it won’t recur.
It’s a long and winding road.