Updated: Aug 4
What's covered: What you really mean when you say "I don't know..." PLUS 5 ways to switch from being anxious & uncertain to more confident & clear, so you can easily figure out what you want in your life
Last time I introduced you to *Kate, who was stuck in the all-too-common "I don't know" cycle.
This week we delve deeper into what those three little words - I Don't Know - really mean.
WARNING: I've got my hard hat on and I'm armed with my truth stick, so don't read on unless you're ready for some tough love!
Figuring Out What You Want: The Honest To Brutal Truth
Let's for a moment look at the phrase "I don't know..."
Often, what we're really saying is: "I don't want to know." Because 99% of the time we DO know, but we choose not to, because then we can live in Limbo Land, stuck on the mental merry-go-round of: Do I? Don't I? I'm so confused, how could I possibly take any action at all?!
In Kate's case, she had spent many months going over and over this dilemma in her head. Other people spend years yo-yoing and exhausting themselves silly. (Hey, I've been there, so I say this with no judgement.)
The phrase "I don't know" can also be translated as "I don't know myself well enough to know what I want." Whoa! I'm hitting you pretty hard with the truth stick there, and it can be more than a little confronting. The good news is that having this awareness about yourself allows for shifts and changes to occur, whereas being in denial or keeping yourself in the dark keeps you *stuck*.
In a nutshell: Choosing to know means choosing to take self-responsibility, which invariably leads to authentic action or conscious inaction.
Get Out Of Jail Free Card
Okay, I'm going to give you a potential loophole, but use it wisely. In certain situations, saying "I don't know" may mean you don't have enough information to make a clear choice at this point in time.
In spiritual talk, you're waiting for the Universe to sort out the details or you're surrendering personal will to divine timing. If this is truly the case, then you might find yourself in a period of waiting and not knowing. By the way, I'm talking about Eckhart Tolle's peaceful yet alert waiting, NOT the ego's whingey whiney Why-Is-Nothing-Happening? waiting.
Exit The Mental Merry-Go-Round
Still struggling with indecision? Big shifts can occur when you actually verbalize what's going around and around in your head. You may have inadvertently witnessed this yourself.
For example, your good friend can't decide which direction to take, and without you barely saying a thing, at the end of the catch-up she or he turns to you and says: "Wow, I feel so much clearer now, thank you!"
The Ball 'N' Wall Analogy
Verbalizing what's going around in your head is like throwing a ball (bare with me here, as my sporting analogies are few and far between). When you throw a ball against a wall, it bounces back to you. On the other hand, when you throw a ball into a wide open space, it's like hurling something into a big echo-less void. And you can throw ball after ball without ever receiving any helpful feedback that would enable you to alter your course.
The moral to this unusual Ball 'N' Wall story: Sometimes we need a wall - aka a person - to bounce off. Sometimes we can get trapped in our own silent (and torturous!) thought tug-of-war. And oftentimes the best way to break the clinch is to honestly verbalize what's in our head and use our body as a truth barometer.
N.B. Ball 'N' Wall not to be confused with Emotional Dump 'N' Run, which isn't cool or helpful.
Your wall can be a trusted friend, colleague or partner, and sometimes it needs to be someone completely impartial, like a health professional. It's at this point that I could shamelessly extol the virtues of myself as said holistic health professional, but I'm guessing you know yourself well enough to acknowledge whether you have a person in your life who can be your wall, or if you need a sturdy stand-in. (Being a person's "rock" is totally overrated; being a wall is where it's at!)
Same Same, But Different
Let's spin this another way... Verbalizing your thoughts doesn't only work for emotional or challenging life issues, it also works for professional, business or creative ideas.
For example, you've had a brilliant idea for a new creative project and what's in your head sounds AMAZING, and then you go and verbalize it to a friend (i.e. say it aloud) and it completely falls flat, particularly to your own ears. Within moments, that sparkling brain gem turns into a dusty mind pebble.
The spiritual upshot: Give your thoughts a chance to breathe, release them from the mental jar, and see whether they quickly perish or begin to sprout and thrive.
Quickie Recap For Figuring Out What You Want & How You Really Feel
"HELP! I don't know what to do anymore or what to do right now!"
Use these 5 simple ways to switch from being anxious and uncertain to more confident and clear, so you know what to do in life, what to do with your career and the next step to take:
Acknowledge the difference between "I don't know" and "I don't want to know"
Be willing to learn more about yourself, so you're clearer about what you do want
Practise alert waiting (being present!) rather than getting caught up in future possibilities
Use the Ball 'N' Wall technique to gain clarity when struggling with competing choices
Read "What To Do When You Don't Know What To Do" Part 1. for how you can use body wisdom to cut through confusion and make better decisions
I've been called a few names in my life and I've adopted a few unusual titles in my time, but the proverbial wall hasn't been one of them...until now! ;-)
Next step: If you're feeling the *LUURVE*, use this opportunity to give a shout-out to the person in your life who is your "wall" by sharing this article with them and saying THANK YOU! Get clicking on one of the social media icons below to get sharing.
Thank you for reading and inspiring me with your feedback - in many ways you're my wall, and I so appreciate you. :-)
Keep listening to your body and trusting your wise self,
(*Name changed for privacy reasons.)
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