When I was at dinner with Alex Slobo this week, I was rambling about something presumably unimportant, after a minute or so I saw he was still intently listening to what I was saying. At which point I realized I didn't have a point. Most people would have saved me from this mental wandering by offering a, "That's crazy" or agreeing on some detail of the story and moving on, but not Alex. In my experience, most people will listen to respond rather than listen to understand. In this case, Alex was listening to understand and it shined a light on the fact that I was saying nothing of substance.
When a negative external event happens to me and I respond with sadness or depression, it's due to an inability to consider all my circumstances in their entirety. Having re-injured my knee this week, potentially requiring surgery and causing me to miss international travel plans, emotions have ranged from detached to despondent. But that's because I'm siloing this circumstance. If I was forced to consider all my circumstances, having a place to live, having two arms, having living parents, living in a city I love, having great friends that care for me, etc. it becomes much harder to be somber about my knee.
Uncertainty takes up an incredible amount of mental energy. As evolutionarily designed energy conservers, humans are inclined to stay in relationships with people they don't like and work at jobs they hate because the uncertainty of alternatives seems scary.
When in times of variability, I crave security. When in times of security, I crave variability.