The Joy and Freedom of Not Knowing

shrugLately I’ve acquired a newfound respect and appreciation of “The French Shrug”.  You know, that wonderful (if not slightly annoying) gesture the French seem to have perfected.  The Shrug.  Basically, you are saying “I don’t know” or “I couldn’t say” or even — “I claim no responsibility”.  Try it – go ahead, shrug.  What happens?  When you shrug lifting your shoulders to your ears and then releasing them, you release pressure and tension.  Inevitably, you relax.

As I get older, I find myself embracing the fact that I don’t know stuff.  Now, I’m not talking about shirking responsibility for things I should know, and I’m definitely not talking about silly forgetfulness (where are my keys? where did I park the car?)  No, what I am talking about is simply things that I’ve given myself permission to not know.  And it has made my life so much easier and less stressful.  Let me explain:

Say, for example that one of my friends asks me what another friend was thinking when she put on that outfit …  or why would someone I know behave in a certain way … or why Friend X raises their children that way?  Well, when I was younger, I felt I had to have an explanation or an answer for everything.  More than that, I felt that it was my duty to defend my friends or family member’s actions if I was truly a loyal friend.  But you know what?  All that wound up doing was inviting more questions, more inquiries and definitely more stress.  If I just stated the truth, that “Well, huh… I don’t know why Camilla said that to Patrick”  or “I have no idea why Martha lets her kids eat Oreos for breakfast” – that’s it.  I’m done.  I’m free!  No more questions!  We can move on to discuss something much more interesting and perhaps something that I do know.  Like, “What’s for dinner?” or “Which restaurant should we try?”  or “Would you like another glass of wine?”

Go ahead — shrug.  Dare to Not Know.  You’ll be amazed at how good you feel!

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