“They say there is always some truth behind ‘just kidding,’ emotion behind ‘I don’t care,’ and knowledge behind ‘I don’t know.'”
The other day I was speaking with a good friend about an estranged relationship I am just starting to resolve. It was one filled with great love and a friendship unmatched. However, it is one that needs careful consideration because the last time I dove in…I ended up almost drowning.
Most people I chose to share this potentially precarious situation with would thoughtfully ask the same two questions:
“How do you feel?”
“What is going to come of this?”
It was interesting, but not surprising what followed my answer. The varied responses were: more prodding to get some further explanation of the “I don’t know,” a confused nod followed by a subject change, silence, encouragement about proceeding with caution, and even a few eye rolls. All these people deeply care for me so their replies were warranted.
I really didn’t know what more to say though, and I would often end up word vomiting what I thought was the “right” answer to my answer; when all I really wanted was to leave it at that, live in the moment, and give it more time before
Back to the friend. When she asked me those questions I’d already been asked enough times to anticipate her response I gave my same answer. Her reply?
“Well, ‘I don’t know’ is an answer!”
After a moment of confusion I became pleasantly surprised, and my interest peaked with the meaning behind her reply.
So what does a true “I don’t know” mean?”
A true I don’t know means that you are taking time to consider things. It should be respected, given time, and space.
A true, careful, and honest I don’t know could mean in the past you thought you knew, and it did not serve you well. Fast forward to facing those same considerations, and this answer could mean you have grown positively.
A true I don’t know could mean you are opening yourself up to being vulnerable by admitting you don’t have all the answers. Being willing to find them is what matters.
A true I don’t know can lead you to the most certain, and most truthful I DO know.
Don’t be afraid to say these three little words. It’s okay not to have all the answers, and it is healthier to acknowledge that you need space to find them than to rush into unmindful solutions.
You just might discover something much more valuable, when you figure it out.
I don’t know IS an answer.