You ask someone a question and they say, “I don’t know.” I think, “Bullsh*t.” I’ll explain my reasoning.
People have opinions. They form their point of view from life experiences or those of others or even because of what they’ve heard. The “I don’t know” answer is easier to give than analyzing their thoughts and feelings to put forth an honest answer.
A quick story: Margaret always said she never wanted to have children. When asked why … guess what her response was … “I don’t know. I just never did.” Her answer didn’t satisfy the question. As Margaret got older she put serious effort into finding out why she didn’t want children. Her search for reasoning sent her into her past and opened up some emotional wounds.
If you were to ask her today, “Margaret, how come you never wanted to have kids?” She’d say, “My upbringing was rough. My mom was a single parent and she worked a lot to provide for the house and my siblings. Her working so much caused her to be emotionally neglectful … and … there were times she was physically abusive as well. As I really thought about why I never wanted kids, I realized it was because I was afraid of being a single parent and parenting my kids how my mother raised me.”
Her answer begs an additional question of, “How do you feel about that?” Having reflected on her past and worked through the open wounds to heal and close them, she’d reply, “I’ve thought about it a lot and it was painful. However, I look at my life and, for the most part, I’m okay. I love my mom. I know she did what she thought was best at that time. She was so focused on our physical needs that she lost sight of, or was unaware of, our emotional needs. I also realize that I’m not that type of person. I was living from the fear of my past upbringing and I’ve learned the past is the past. What my mother did is what she did. I’m not her. Had I thought about all of this earlier in my life and resolved those issues, maybe I would’ve had kids. Having said that, I don’t have any regrets because I believe things happen for a reason.”
How many times over the years had Margaret answered, “I don’t know” when the answer was within her the entire time? In essence, her “I don’t know” was subconsciously dishonest. An accurate response would’ve been, “I haven’t put thought into figuring that out yet.”
Think of all the above the next time your mouth opens with the intent to say, “I don’t know.” Remind yourself that it’s bullsh*t. Then, decide if you want to lay there continuing to smell bad or if you want get up and clean yourself up from the inside out. Opening old wounds can be painful, though the resolution can be life changing.
Who needs a change?
I’d love to hear your stories of a self-reflective moment and your thoughts on the above article.