The Less We Know, The More Self-Confident We Become

Most weeks in my therapy practice I roll in, plop into my velvet chair and put my expert hat on.

“How can I help you?” I may ask. Or really, I may be asking, “How can I expend all my skills and expertise to make you a better person?”

In reflection I realize there are often evenings where I drive home and ask myself, “How did I do? Was I able to help? Did I do a good job with the helping?” And my yes or no response then directly corresponds to my pat on the back and really, how I feel about myself for the evening.

That’s why this week has surprised me so very much. Session after session I found that so many of my clients were teaching and challenging me in incredibly introspective ways. I was continually impressed by their growth, charisma, motivation and wisdom. I found me asking myself how I could implement their self-findings in my life, how I could better my reality by their current practices. It made me feel proud, humbled and ridiculously in love with my job.

But I realized something more. I realize that we inherently live in a world of hierarchy and find ways to feel like we are moving up this invisible ladder in order to compensate how we feel about ourselves. We think that “knowing more, having more, giving more” means we are more. It so is not. Really, it limits us from the potential of soaking in what’s around us that we may not see. It inhibits our capacity for growth, insight, awareness and surprising relationships. It fails us when we realize we’ll never get to “the top”, that impossible place where we falsely believe our true self-confidence lies.

As we begin to open our eyes to learning and growing from some surprising places here are some questions to ask:

  • What is different about this person/situation that I can learn from?
  • What holds me back from realizing this person’s unique understanding of the world?
  • Can this person teach me something about life that I once knew, but forgot?
  • What feelings of (false) inadequacy come up when I realize I am better than no one?
  • Do people see me as someone with an open-minded and learning heart?
  • What is my invisible ladder of hierarchy that I use to feel better about myself and how can I challenge this?
  • Where did we learn that “having more and knowing more” means being more? How do we reconcile the paradox that knowing less really invites us into so much more?



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