We often hear about the human need for “closure,” but what do we actually mean by the term, why do we seek it and more importantly, what can we do to create it?
Why Do Humans Seek Closure?
Your brain is a pattern recognition machine ― it’s constantly generating associations about what leads to pain and what leads to pleasure so it can better predict the future and better enhance your survival.
Consequently it hates uncertainty (because it means it can’t predict the future) and so it gives priority to “incomplete” experiences (defined as any experience without an explanation ― from someone ghosting you, to a relationship breakup, to the death of a loved one) because it wants to find meaning so it can better predict the future and better enhance your survival. These experiences are kept at the forefront of your mind.
Hence why we ruminate and seek answers when going through challenging experiences. This is particularly relevant to relationships. Unprocessed negative events between partners can be incredibly destructive. Through an ongoing erosion of trust, they gradually and ultimately destroy even the most intimate relationships.
It’s also why film and documentary series’ can be addictive because your brain craves to know what happens next (yes, really).
How To Create Closure
Nothing in life has any meaning except the meaning we give it. The meaning we give something determines how we feel. How we feel becomes the filter through which we perceive, experience and interact with the world around us.
Therefore, the key to closure is to create empowering meanings for our experiences. In other words, to shift our perspective and frame our experiences in a way that moves us forward into the future instead of holding us back in the past and ultimately aligns us with our goals and the life we desire.
While the need for closure exists on a scale depending on person to person, we all seek it to some degree. Closure is part of our nature. It gives us the sense of certainty ― the sense that we are in control.
The key to generating closure is to give meanings to our experiences in a way that empowers us and aligns us with our goals and the quality of life we desire.