As a child I recall my parents, teachers, babysitters or other adults asking me questions where my response quite often was “I don’t know.”
– Why did you shave the cat?
– Why didn’t you do your homework?
– Who ate the dog food?
– What’s wrong with you?
– How did a bowl of macaroni and tang end up in the fridge?
– What are you going to do with your life?
– Why is there a chicken sitting on the couch?
My answer to all of the above ~
– “I don’t know.”
Then their response would be;
– “I don’t know,” is not an answer.
So, I’d be forced to make up some phoney-baloney answer about why I did something or why something happened. Even though the correct answer really was “I don’t know.”
Fast forward a couple decades and this “have-to-have an answer” programming, has gotten some of us into trouble as adults. We turned into “know it alls” who were taught to always come up with an answer or at least pretend we had one.
** believe me, when we try to camouflage the fact that we don’t know; people know we don’t know.**
This behaviour can then manifest into some people believing they do know more or better than the ones who really do (when clearly they do not). They can become dismisses of the opinions, comments, or suggestions of others, they may even blurt out random facts or answer questions that haven’t been asked, to demonstrate their astute knowledge on a range of topics. And thus, a new “know it all”is born.
I was in my mid thirties by the time I realized we ain’t fooling anybody when we play the game of know-it-all. We come off as rude, smug, arrogant or flippant.
None of us have ALL the answers.
We’re not supposed too. Knowledge of our own ignorance is a sign of wisdom and growth. According to Socrates, knowing that we know nothing – is both a sign of humility and perhaps genius.
So rather than teach our children that they must have answers, let’s teach them to ask questions, to listen and gain other insights and perspective to make sure they understand. This approach may breed more tolerance, compassion, understanding, acceptance and cooperation. (and wow, our world needs more of all that right now.)
There’s a sense of freedom and vulnerability when we utter the words “I don’t know” or when we lean into another person and say;
“Can you help me figure this out”
“I don’t understand,”
“Tell me more.”
The best leaders I’ve worked for were the ones who did more listening than talking. They asked for advice, admitted when they didn’t know, we’re constantly reading, learning and sharing what they knew. These leaders surrounded themselves with people who thought differently than they did and offered different perspectives.
Its not the job of a good leader to “know it all,” it’s their job to build a tribe of diverse individuals who bring a unique experience and wisdom to the collective. We should live our daily lives the same way, appreciating those that look, think and are different than us.
I found a message I had written in the margins of my 2001 journal, ( it’s what inspired this post) It read;
“Toni you’re smart, but if you ever think you know it all, remind yourself you don’t, you have some answers, but not all of them, when you’re lost, go find the ones that do.”
I thought back on 2001 trying to remember what might have prompted me to write that down. There were no real clues in my journal entry, so, the truth is “I don’t know.”
Love Toni 🌹❤️
**because I know you’re dying to know; The chicken (which turned out to be a rooster) was sitting on the couch because my younger sister had kidnapped it from school to save the poor thing from becoming a dissection project. 🐔❤️
Once upon a time, there was a family of 7.2 billion people running around their little blue planet trying to change each other and beating each other up. No one really knew why.
Each new generation picked up where the generation before had left off, ridiculing, mocking, shunning, shaming, judging and attacking their family members for their different beliefs, social status, gender, sexual orientation, alliances, traditions, looks and well, just about anything.
When they could have been building a beautiful world together and caring for one another; they wasted time and energy blowing things up, destroying the planet, hurting each other, even going to war with each other over their differences.
One day a group of children within the family decided “this is dumb” we’re not going to play like this anymore. And they didn’t, and over a few generations the family began to heal.
They still had disagreements, but now they worked through them without judgment and without causing each other significant harm.
Soon the family began to realize they were supposed to be different. It was their differences that made them stronger, healthier and collectively wiser. They saw that when they lifted each other up, and listen to each other‘s perspectives, they achieved more together then they did apart.
No, they did not all live “happily ever after”, but they did live “better ever after.”
**I don’t want to look like you, be like you, think like you, have the same hopes, dreams or goals as you. Those things belong to you, those things are a part of your journey.
The only thing we should be the same at, is accepting and loving each other exactly as we are; and, embracing the notion, “we’re supposed to be different, it’s our differences that give us our collective strength.”
I’m gonna’ love your beautiful, weird, messy, little soul as it is and, I’m gonna’ love my own weird, messy, little soul as she is. That’s it. The End~
We learn more during life’s painful moments and challenges, than we learn in our moments of glory.
Each stabbing ache, each crushing disappointment, each heartbreak, every loss or painful fall from grace, allows us an opportunity to grow and become stronger.
Whether it’s emotional or physical; pain forces us to slow down, rest and take the time we need to heal.
Getting knocked down isn’t always a bad thing. Pain can leave us humbled, wiser and more patient. It allows us to lower our veil, be vulnerable, more tolerant and compassionate towards the pain we see or even cause, in others.
Sometimes pain itself is the cure for the things in life that hurt us; as it slows us down long enough to evaluate what and who is important.
When pain knocks on your door, let it in, sit with it. Let it show you what it wants you to see, to learn or to grow into.
Pain always, ALWAYS, brings with it opportunities for transformation. Opportunities to wrap yourself in your cocoon, and when you’re ready, to emerge with greater clarity about who you are, what’s important, why you’re here and how you want to live, love, play and BE.
Pain can be a beautiful teacher. Don’t waste your pain on “the pain” use this opportunity as a stepping stone to chart the next chapter of your journey.
Your pain will hurt you, it will also help, heal and lead you.
Our entire lives we’re on a quest to feel whole and happy.
As we wait for happiness to arrive, some of us fill the empty spaces in our lives with distractions, temporary highs, busyness, unfulfilling relationships, toxic substances, material possessions and the debt that often comes with them, but still, the emptiness remains.
As children we knew how to laugh, how to play and what made us happy. It was being close to the ones we loved, exercising our curiosity, exploring our environment, creating adventures, making art, splashing in puddles, running barefoot in the rain, playing in a forest or a pond, taking risks and trusting we’d be okay, even if we fell; these are the things that filled us up.
Then, as we grew, life became cluttered with distractions, busyness, possessions, stress, too much information, self doubt and responsibility. Many of us parked our creativity, abandoned our curious nature, spent less time with those we loved and we stopped doing those wonderful things that made us happy when we we’re children.
It’s time to invite the child who lives in each of us to come out and play, to remember the happiness we felt when we set ourselves free from the clutter and distractions that bog us down.
Even amidst the frenzied noise and turmoil in the world, we can still CHOOSE to be happy.
Today is a good day; ~ To look up and see the world through the curious eyes of the child in you and reclaim your sense of wonder. ~ To seek out a new adventure and bask in the beauty around you. ~ To flip over a few rocks along the shoreline and see what scurries out. ~ To pull out a colouring book, make a kite, play in the sand, go to a park and get on a swing, hang off a monkey bar, make a mud pie or do some happy finger painting on your guest room wall. ~ To giggle, to play and melt back into your authentic happy little self.
Today’s a good day to be happy. To let go and jump, skip, slide, soar, surf, run, ride, sail, paddle or swim, right past anything blocking your path to happiness.
You came into this world knowing where happiness resides, it’s still there waiting for you to unleash its power over your life.
My life looks nothing like I thought it would when I started making plans and cultivating my big dreams decades ago. How could it?
When we’re young, there’s no way to fully anticipate the changes we will go and grow through. Changes in the world, changes in our priorities, our attitudes and beliefs, or, how our life experiences and learning will shape us.
I shouldn’t be the person my 20-year-old self thought I would become. There is no way 20-year-old me could comprehend the needs and priorities of 60-year-old me, especially when every decade I seem to emerge as something different than I was.
Yet, I always seem to land where I need to be. Over the years, I’ve learned to surrender control over what I thought I wanted, to make space for what I needed when it arrived, to remain focused on outcomes such as good health, happiness, wisdom, wealth, and love, and not get tangled up in which path I should take towards these things, but instead take the path that presents itself.
When we fixate on what we think we want or where we should be, we might fail to see what we need when it shows up.
Continue to cultivate your big dreams, recognizing the route to those dreams, may NOT be down the roads you expected.
We all get to where we’re supposed to be. How we get there, is not as important as how we live, learn and grow along the way.
Life became easier when I surrendered my own tenacity and began to live with an open heart and an open mind.
There are things I’ve discovered and learned along the way, which I might never have unearthed if I had remained locked in my own stubbornness.
Our struggles often result from our inability to see the possibilities beyond our own thinking and the doctrines imposed on us.
Living with an open heart and mind means considering alternatives, actively listening to opinions different from our own, being kind before jumping to judgment and being aware of signs along the way pointing you in new directions.
Open minds and open hearts, have created more music, magic, poetry, peace, love and light in the world, then closed minds and cold hearts.