Withheld and incomplete communications can pull more on our attention than not finishing an email inbox or completing a project. In my experience incomplete communications can seem subtle but as I describe in a recent experience of mine, not so subtle.
There is a great place in Ojai that provides packaging and mailing services called Attitude Adjustment (which is mostly a liquor store). They are great guys and will pack anything for you. My friend and her family in Caracas are in need of simple supplies like shampoo, soap and toothpaste due to the current political situation in Venezuela. So friends gathered resources and I went to the Attitude Adjustment to have the items packed for shipment.
I made a suggestion to the person assisting me that perhaps a smaller box would work better based on the last box we shipped and knew instantly he was not open to my input. While he kept repeating that he would do whatever I wanted, his attitude did not match his words. At one point I noticed I was starting to judge him and adding my frustration to his. Finally with tears in my eyes I said I would come back later. He immediately stepped aside and asked one of his colleagues to assist me. After the package was ready and I was paying, he apologized to me which was very kind.
As I left I did not feel great about the experience nor was I by any means complete. That interaction kept surfacing in my mind and pulling on my attention over the next couple of weeks. I was not able to let it go. I knew I needed to speak with him to be complete. I stopped by early one morning and apologized for my attitude and showed him the photo of the gifts arriving in Venezuela which made him smile. He said to me, I realized you care a lot about your friend to have wanted the box packed well and secure. He went to the higher level that I was not able to get to on that day and he thanked me for coming back.
As I left I knew I had received the attitude adjustment. And I had my full energy back as is always the reward for completing what is unresolved and pulling on the attention.
1. Take an inner inventory of any conversation, judgment you may have made or written communication you might have reworded and see if it is pulling on your attention as an incomplete.
2. Take the opportunity to finish communications through to completion in the moment so they do not linger in your head for hours (or days) later.
3. Remember to receive communications with the underlying good intentions that might not be easily apparent.