Why do we feel that we need to ‘know’ or have the right answer in order to feel safe?
In our desire to appear successful to ourselves and others, we may feel we are supposed to be the expert in whatever we are doing or saying. Yet, when we don’t know the answer, or we make a mistake, we find ourselves hiding it from others or blaming them in a twisted effort to keep from losing our credibility, love, and support. For many of us, as children, when we had the wrong answer or made a mistake, the consequences were not very desirable. We may have been ridiculed, ignored, micromanaged, humiliated, criticized, shamed, neglected or simply left in the dark. Those early experiences taught us it’s unsafe not to know or have the right answer with ourselves or others, so we work hard to stay ‘in the know’.
As humans, one of our greatest fears is that we don’t really know what’s going to happen next – including our last breath.
To feel like we are in control, we may fill ourselves with knowledge, or seek it from others to try to predict what is going to happen to calm our inner fear. This is why many of us are addicted to watching the news, the weather channel or on social media to keep up. While we may not always like the information, we feel safer by knowing what’s happening to better predict what might happen to us in the future.
We also ‘stay in the know’ by telling stories about ourselves and our experiences based on what has happened in the past and project them into the future. Stories like “my planes are always delayed”, “you don’t know how bad the traffic here really is”, “she never spends enough time with me”, etc. are more powerful than we think. Not only do they create more of the same experiences, but they also close the door to creating new ones.
To create new experiences, we need to be in a place of ‘not knowing’. We must open up to the possibility that things do NOT have to be the same as they were in the past.
This requires us to move into a state of not knowing and our ego hates this. It feels out of control and unable to protect us there not realizing this is the place inside where we create uplifting experiences for ourselves. Instead of replaying a painful past and projecting it into the future – we can create joyful experiences for ourselves from the place of not knowing.
The present moment is the place of not knowing. It is the moment when we drop all focus on the past or future and we allow ourselves to bring our whole attention into right now by merging with our experience. This is where our curiosity can arise as we explore what we want and don’t want, based on what we are experiencing right now. We may refer to the past to further clarify what is and isn’t OK for us going forward, but that’s it. This is the essence of a learning mindset – the willingness not to know what is going to happen with a strong intent and focus on what we do want to experience going forward. With no preconceived ideas, we can clearly see what is before us and within us, including our thoughts, feelings, physical senses, and inner energetic awareness. We can use all of these information sources to experience what feels best to us in each moment and let that be the most important knowing we have.
I’m here to assure you that there is nothing wrong with not-knowing. In many ways, it’s OK to just allow things to unfold exactly as they are. You can use what is happening right now to determine what you want to change or keep based on what feels best to you right now. The more good feeling right now moments you have, the more future good feeling moments you automatically create. AND you get to feel good now regardless of what happens in the future. It’s time to shift our awareness from predicting our future based on our past, into honoring and responding from what feels best to us in each moment.
How will you let go of needing to ‘know’ today?