We humans hate to say “I don’t know.” Maybe it’s the echo of getting called on in class and not having the answer? As a result, we convince ourselves that we know, especially when we don’t. The term “right fighting” describes the type of communication in which no one listens, but everyone is embedded in defending their point of view. We may as well walk through a mine field with a blindfold on. (Boom!)
Truth is different than knowledge. Eve discovered that fact when she ate from the Tree of Knowledge. It felt good at the time, but my guess is that she would have liked a do-over! The loss of innocence was the consequence of eating that apple. When Jesus said, “Come to Me as little children,” He may have meant, “Let’s pretend that you don’t know, but that you’re willing to open your heart and listen.”
In my years of working with relationships, I came to the realization that we hide behind the illusion of knowing. Not knowing makes us feel vulnerable, “like a little child.” But the alternative of chronically knowing before we experience what’s actually happening is a dead end street. It chokes the life out of Life and definitely out of relationships.
When we “know,” we don’t listen. When we don’t listen, the person who is trying to communicate feels like an intruder into your headspace, knocking on a door that never opens. In relationships, not actively listening is habitual disconnection. It means people aren’t open to each other, and it tacitly tells the other person to either agree with me or get lost. Given the divorce statistics, many do the latter.
As we turn the page to 2018, maybe part of our resolutions can be, “I’ll bring curiosity into my life and I’ll flirt with the edges of not knowing.” I wonder what would happen then? (There I go getting curious!!)
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