I came across this response to a person saying ‘I don’t know’ on Nick Williams website and I was interested in his take on it because I realise ‘I don’t know’ had perhaps become my mantra…
“When faced with the statement ‘I don’t know’, I often find that (when I delve a little deeper) these words hide at least three other dynamics. Firstly, they may mean, ‘I do have an idea – or several ideas – about my response, but I have no strategies for making my answer happen. I don’t know how I could realise my answer or how if it would work.’ So don’t fall into the trap of confusing ‘I don’t know what’ with ‘I don’t know how’.
Secondly, ‘I don’t know’ can mean, ‘I’m afraid to know. Unhappy as I am, this situation is familiar to me. Becoming clear about the next step would be scary for me, so I’d rather stay confused, thank you! If I became clearer about what I want, I’d have to do something about it.’
Thirdly, the phrase can mean, ‘I want a bolt of lightning to come down and make it really clear for me. I am waiting for God and the Universe to write it on a twenty-foot-high billboard in words I understand, which will then give me permission to act. I don’t want to have to go out looking, or research, explore and then trust myself to make a decision. I am afraid to know myself and take greater responsibility for my life!’ ‘I don’t know’ often signifies fear-masked, confused thinking, indicating a need for us to take a clear and honest approach.”
I realised my own ‘I don’t know’ has been just another pattern that I’ve got into the habit of repeating. Believing it, kept me stuck. For me, I was doing the third dynamic. It’s funny, I captured this passage by Nick Williams nine years ago (!) and I never really ‘got’ the third dynamic. I could read the words, I thought I understood, but it didn’t connect with me inside. There was no resonance my own experience of life. This was simply because I, as Nick puts it, didn’t ‘want to have to go out looking, or research, explore and then trust myself to make a decision. I am afraid to know myself and take greater responsibility for my life.’ Turns out I’ve been doing this very well for longer than I’d like to admit and (unconsciously) choosing not to see it. What can I say, it was keeping me safe. So safe, I might add, that I couldn’t see who I was anymore. And that’s not to say my saying ‘I don’t know’ won’t rear it’s head again in my lifetime. But I’m wise. Well slightly wiser than last week, or month. And I have some really powerful tools and an amazing community to help me stay aware, accountable and continue to gain wisdom about my repetitive thoughts, feeling and habits now. It’s taken time.
So if you’re pretending you don’t know or are afraid to become clear about something big in your life. I encourage you, as I am myself, to say ‘I don’t know yet’. One word can make the world of difference to your mindset and I’ve got some awesome tools to help…
Of course, I’ll face ‘I don’t know’ again! I’m looking out for it now with curiosity 😉