Easy to Know the Right Thing To Do? Not Always...
Updated: Mar 7
During a conversation with my father, when I was 18, he said to me, "It's easy to know the right thing to do. It's not always easy to implement it, when you've never been taught." And for the last 18 years I have leaned into that wisdom to offer myself and others the grace and compassion necessary for healing and growth. Because sometimes it is easy to know the "right" or best thing to do, but if you've never been taught how to do them, you struggle to implement them, or bring them from awareness to daily life.
I believe that there is still so much value in this wisdom and share it freely to this day, so I was completely bowled over recently when I sat down to journal and heard, It is NOT always easy to know the right thing to do or how to implement it, when you've never been taught. The truth in that statement unlocked something inside of me and allowed me to connect with the parts of me who just don't know.
Sometimes concepts and actions are so foreign to us we have no clue what the right thing to do is and no clue what to implement or how. Other times we've heard so much about something that we believe we know, when really we have so little understanding.
Growing up, I had no understanding of what it meant to love myself or embody my truth. I had no understanding of self-care beyond basic hygiene and "put your best foot forward" by dressing nice and being "presentable". I had very little understanding for how to open myself and genuinely connect with myself, others, or the world around me with honesty, trust, and vulnerability. I had no understanding of how to own my own emotions and maintain my boundaries. And I had no understanding of these things because I was never taught.
I didn't have adults around me who knew any better. I didn't have anyone modeling appropriate, safe, enjoyable, nurturing or self-loving ways of caring for myself and others. No one showed me how to be interconnected rather than co-dependent. And because of that, I only know what I've learned thus far largely on my own. I'm both proud of that and exhausted by it! IYKYK
I've learned so much, come so far, and yet there's so much I'm still learning. Sometimes, it makes me feel like I'm playing catch up somehow, even though I can see that almost everyone else is in the same or similar boat as me. I struggle with feeling annoyed and frustrated with myself and the world because I don't yet know. But how am I supposed to know, when I've never been taught? When I'm essentially teaching myself? When I'm figuring this out as I go along and finding my own way through?
And how am I supposed to receive any answers, when I put so much pressure on myself to know everything now? When I expect the impossible from myself?
Slowly but surely I'm coming to see that this not knowing/learning phase is a perpetual part of life, and I am learning to accept that I don't have all the answers. Nor will I ever. It's funny because I like to learn and I like to think of myself as a perpetual learner... just not when it comes to the things I feel I should already know. But I have to remind myself that shoulds are all about expectations, which I've found to be largely unreasonable and the cause of a lot of unnecessary suffering.
The reality is there is always going to be something I don't know that I want to know and am therefore in the process of learning. It is not a failing on my part that I'm in the process of learning what I don't yet know. It's not an inherent problem with me that I am and will always be "in progress". It's just a natural part of being alive and human. Understanding that sometimes it's not easy to know the "right" thing to do or how to implement information we've learned, if we've never been taught or shown how to, is key in taking the pressure off ourselves to know everything and to be further along than we actually are.
Regardless of anything else, I know it takes radical honesty with myself and those closest to me. It takes a willingness to be uncomfortable and try new things, to choose differently, and to implement routines that support the doing of what I need and enjoy. I know that it means working WITH the parts of me who don't feel good enough to embody, become, or BE my Truth. And I know that it takes patience and connection with myself.
Understanding myself, understanding my patterning, my boundaries, why I am the way I am, and who and how I want to be takes time. It takes commitment. It takes a willingness to open myself up, get vulnerable, and explore myself in a variety of scenarios and experiences with a variety of people. It also takes acceptance and approval of what is at the same time having the knowing that wanting more and getting what I want doesn't make me wrong, bad, or selfish.
All around me there are signs, guides, teachers, and support systems who have the knowledge, wisdom, answers and solutions I seek. They can be found within myself, in each other, in nature, and in my connection with the Universe and the Divine. I don't have to know everything. I simply need to choose to be open to the wisdom I seek and allow myself to be drawn and guided to it.
Everything I know now has come as a direct result of me seeking out people, places, things, and ways to help me feel better, to heal, to know myself, and to feel joy in living life again. So even though I don't always know the right thing to do or how to embody the wisdom I've been taught, I do know how to get still and listen. I do know how to be open to the answers. I do know how to work with the parts of my who are struggling, to keep trying. And I am learning how to be ok with the not knowing and trusting that everything I seek is in turn seeking me.