Expand Your Influence, Uncategorized

Is ignorance bliss?

When I stopped needing to know everything.

You know those people…they love to be the first to know and to one-up you on the details of a story.

They ask a LOT of questions.

They tend to be over thinkers and even busy-bodies. Some of them are genuinely caring people who feel like they need the details to assess the situation…other times they’re just nosy (or chronic gossipers).

I call myself both a recovering perfectionist and recovering people-pleaser. I don’t believe I’ll ever be completely over either but I am grateful for how far I’ve come.

One of the areas I’ve nearly conquered is needing to know everything.

Before I experienced anxiety and spent many months learning how to re-train my brain, I would obsess about my interactions with people, replaying and rehearsing conversations and situations to the point of insomnia. 

My needing to know everything was (I eventually discovered) an attempt to…

  • control situations and people
  • keep people at arm’s length
  • manage my image (a.k.a. “save face”)
  • avoid confrontation
  • win
  • hide
  • avoid looking stupid
  • avoid being taken advantage of
Can you relate?

So what happened that I stopped needing to know everything?

FIRST STORY

A fellow mom I had befriended attacked me completely out of the blue on my Facebook page. It was inaccurate, mean-spirited and completely unwarranted. Before I had a chance to delete it and block her, a few friends saw what she said and were ready to go after her. Thankfully they had the wisdom not to.

We had an email exchange. Her accusation, based on one post, was ridiculous. I tried to explain my point of view but it became apparent that her perspective on the issue was skewed.

There was a final letter she sent to me. I was so upset by the whole thing that I made my husband read it.

“It’s ridiculous, Babe,” he told me. “It’s like arguing with a 15-year-old. This isn’t productive.”

He advised me not to read it…and to not interact with her anymore.

Um…easier said than done.

One of the hardest learning experiences I’ve ever been through was not reading that letter and not reaching out to her.

I hate when things are unresolved.

But I stood my ground and I waited. Months went by. I resisted the urge to call her, to sort it out. Friends couldn’t believe I hadn’t read the last letter.

She eventually called. And admitted that she’d struggled in that area so when she saw anything related to it, it riled her up. Y’THINK?? She also apologized. I told her I understood and thought she needed to get some help to work past her issues. I never heard from her again.

SECOND STORY

Our church’s pastor was in trouble. My husband was an elder. It was by far the most difficult phase of our marriage because of the stress at church as the elders and staff sorted out everything that happened and decided on a course of action.

People I loved and trusted were caught up in the fray. Some left. Some fought it out.

Early on, my husband came home from a late-night elder meeting.

I knew some of the names of the people on both sides. Both sides thought they were right.

He was shaking his head. I knew who he’d met with and I realized…I didn’t want to know which side they were on. Whichever side “won,” I didn’t want to have a list in my head of who was who.

Whatever happened, it wouldn’t be helpful for me to know any of the details. The issues were complicated and situations like that bring out the worst in people…so I told him not to tell me anything.

The process took months. Many people assumed I knew at least some of the details. I’m sure there are a few who still think I know what they said in those meetings.

I had to stop a few friends from talking to me by telling them, “Just so you know, I don’t know anything other than what is public knowledge.” They were surprised.

Often ignorance IS bliss.

Ever since then, it’s been much easier to be on a “need to know” basis in most areas of life.

I sit on many teams and committees…and I no longer feel the need to be an “insider.” Frankly, I don’t have the mental energy, nor the time.

Sometimes I can feel left out or out of the loop…but it’s worth it.

Why do YOU need to know everything? To…

  • control situations and people
  • keep people at arm’s length
  • manage my image (a.k.a. “save face”)
  • avoid confrontation
  • win
  • hide
  • avoid looking stupid
  • avoid being taken advantage of?
Both of those situations taught me that any of the above “benefits” are not worth the angst, heartache, damaged relationships, loss of sleep and manipulation often involved in knowing everything.

Knowing everything is simply no longer worth my time anymore.

Because I don’t obsess these days, I do occasionally flake out or miss connecting the dots.

“It’s worth the trade,” my husband reminded me.

Is it worth the trade to you?

Do you need to know everything- Here's how I overcame it. TABITHADUMAS.COM

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About Tabitha Dumas

Seeing women showing UP to their life authentically and confidently--THAT is what excites me. I am a strategist, bringer of the fun, trail blazer and agent of encouragement offering creative and effective strategies to help women elevate their image and expand their influence. I'm also a magazine junkie, dedicated wife, fun-loving mama, bargain shopper and story teller trying to use my powers for good in this crazy world. I love my life!
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