Just ask

At dinner recently, my date pointed out that something he really likes about me is that if there’s something on my mind, particularly about him or us, I just ask him without sending myself into a tizzy over it.

Not many people do, he said.

I was temporarily perplexed, but then after a few moments I remembered that he was actually right. I wasn’t even originally like that but it is something I’ve been doing for so long I’d forgotten.

I realised quite some time ago that nothing good came from overanalysing situations or stewing over them for days, weeks or sometimes longer. It was a waste of energy and didn’t actually get me any further to a solution or answer.

This is because often the reason something was running around my head on high rotation was because there were pieces of the puzzle missing.

No matter how many times I would look at the situation, without those puzzle pieces I’d never be able to see the full picture.

Sure I could imagine what the puzzle pieces would look like, or the whole picture, but there were millions of possibilities, and I never could be sure which was right. So one day I gave it up and just started asking.

This brought so much freedom. It freed me up from a huge amount of mental clutter, anxiety and stress on a daily basis.

It wasn’t until this lovely compliment that I remembered what my life used to be like – a constant roundabout of not knowing, speculation and dragging other people in to get their opinion then still not knowing for sure.

How exhausting!

Depending on the situation and the stage of my life the inability to get off this round about was normally from either not thinking to go to the root cause of the issue/situation, not having the confidence to ask or fear of possible conflict.

Today however I value my mental space more than to waste time and energy wondering.

If I am worried about something, I ask. If I’m not sure if I’ve misinterpreted something, I ask. If I’ve got something on my mind, I raise it with the person.

That is another thing, I go directly to the source. Other people rarely hold the answers if it’s to do with a specific person or situation known only to few.

So I encourage you all, if something is on your mind, just ask.

To start, it might be easier to pre-think how you will ask, making sure that if it is a sensitive person or issue that the other person does not add additional negative meaning to your innocent question. In my experience however the more relaxed you are about asking and nonchalant, the less likely the person is to respond in a negative way.

Anyone who knows me is quite used to me piping up with ‘hey, random question…’ or ‘now don’t go adding subtext to this that isn’t there but I was wondering…’ or even simply ‘I’m a little confused about something you said…’. These are all non-confrontational, relaxed yet confident ways of addressing an issue or concern. Even my boss is getting used to me calling him into quick chats to clarify things.

If the person does choose to add extra meaning and get sensitive, this is often more about them than you. Stand your ground, diffused their concerns by reiterating your intentions and continue. Be careful not to reflect their sensitivity back at them and 99% of the time any issues can be diffused quickly and relatively effortlessly.

Do yourself a favour and take a mental load off. You might enjoy it!

Much love,