Earlier this week, I submitted a report to a committee where I work. The bulk of the report was intended to outline some of my concerns with a particular project I'm overseeing. I was not at the meeting where this report was passed around and read, so I was expecting some phone calls or emails the next day. I anticipated that people on the committee would want to discuss things further, or express their anger or frustration, or offer suggestions that I haven't yet considered.
I got nothing. No phone calls, no emails, no rocks through the window, and no lavish gifts of appreciation. I was frustrated by the lack of response. Even a little angry. But that triggered a fear in me. What if I had really stepped out of line with this report? I had worded it carefully, and I had three individuals whose opinions I trust read over it before I submitted it. But what if something was easily misconstrued? What if my tone came across differently than I intended? Suddenly I was calling into question the whole of my ability to communicate through the written word, and I went back to a familiar reaction of "I should have just kept my mouth shut."
When I dug a little underneath it, I realized that I was not just submitting a report for the sake of dispersing information. I was somewhat insistent about the result of that communication. And my attachment to the result literally drove me crazy when reality didn't line up with my expectations. I was even willing to doubt myself rather quickly with no information whatsoever on which to base that doubt. Apart from all of the things I believed "should" happen, there were a lot of things I just didn't know. I have no idea what the members of the committee were (or are) thinking, and I don't really know what they plan to do as a group or as individuals.
There have been plenty of times when I was afraid of what I didn't know. How refreshing to recognize the freedom in not needing to know what I simply can't. When I can concentrate on what I actually do know, my decisions and my beliefs become so much clearer.