In the UK, there is a deep seated culture of not ‘blowing one’s own trumpet’. This is accompanied by a polarised reluctance to admit when we do not know. In personal development groups, I have spent a lot of time helping people to both recognise their own talents, skills, worth and contribution and also to know that it is ok to not know sometimes. To not know does not mean that we are any lesser than….it doesn’t mean that we are valued any less. It’s ok to not be ok sometimes and it’s ok to not know sometimes, this doesn’t need to be anything more than that. In fact, it’s the ‘making more of’ that generates anxiety and discontent. Sometimes, we just need to accept….take a pause if necessary…then move forward.
I am drawn to revisit these mantras of knowing and unknowing. The trigger is a realisation of my ego speaking to me on a regular basis, listening to ANother who is presenting a show, or speaking, or lecturing, or in their written word and saying to myself ‘I know this’. In fact, over time, it has become a standing joke between myself and my therapist friend (Kelly Solly of KTS counselling). Ironically, another of my mantras is that you can’t unknow what you know….and guess what? Now that I know I do this ‘I know’ thing….I always know I’m doing it.
As ever, I’ve gone deeper with this. There was a time when I needed to know that I knew….because I all too often felt like I didn’t know. In fact, I landed at University, aged 21, having left school at fifteen years old, wanting to run a mile because I felt like I didn’t know anything. I wasn’t rich, I wasn’t posh and I wasn’t well educated….so what was I doing there? (Subtext: this was at a time when only certain members of society headed for a degree programme…not people like me, I believed). I sat in the first seminar and listened to the academic, I listened to the students, I listened to the questions and I thought ‘I know this’….not the facts necessarily..but I GOT IT…I got the gist. I could make sense of it. I knew it. Unexpectedly, I felt like I was in the right place. Back then, I needed to feel that.
Now….as a grown woman of significant life experience, professional and academic stature, why do I still say ‘I know this’?….I don’t need to…in fact because it’s my ego and I’m moving with spiritual purpose, it’s a thorn in my side….
Going deeper still, I am taking this blogging opportunity to make peace with this. ‘I know’…yeehaaaa, let me do a little inward jog and click my heels. Hallelujah, it’s been a long and sometimes lonely road. And sometimes I don’t know…yeeehhhaaaa….I’m alive, still learning, still growing, hallelujah. It’s a win-win situation.
So, my dear ego….thanks for gatekeeping and trying to balance my multiplicit perceptions all of these years but you can relax now. It’s fine. I’m ok with knowing….and I’m ok with not knowing too.