My niece is 6 years old and she knows everything, at least that's what she thinks! I'm sure we can all agree that this is impossible, but how many of us have had this same thought? Maybe we think we have our lives figured out or that we are an expert on a certain topic. Just as I have to remind my niece, I am kindly reminding you as well; You don't know anything, but that's ok!
Everyone knows the saying "Ignorance is bliss." This is most often said in a sarcastic manner with the belief that burying one's head in the sand is not a good idea. I agree with this for the most part. There are things that we cannot ignore and need to be aware of.
Remaining ignorant to injustices happening around the world only gives more power to the oppressors. We should maintain an awareness of the world around us if we want to have an impact and a chance at righting the wrongs. In this instance, we need to be aware of and understand the systems of oppression if we want to change them.
On the other hand, I think that ignorance actually IS bliss. There are times when it's ok to not be completely 'in the know' about everything. I believe that there is a threshold of information, beyond which might be detrimental to our mental and spiritual well-being.
This may be an unpopular opinion, but I'll break it down for you with some real-world examples.
Other's Opinion of You
<<<"Another person's opinion of you is none of your business.">>>
This is a quote I repeat to myself often and it really helps me to put things into perspective. Growing up as a self-proclaimed people pleaser, I took other peoples' opinions to heart and let them affect me. This unhealthy habit created insecurities which took a lot of work to heal.
Even now, I'll admit that I'm not 100% cured. It's a work in progress. Criticism is something that is still difficult for me to process sometimes. I take this as a personal attack and, in turn, get defensive.
I can reflect back and realize that the fear of what other people would think has held me back from growing my business or taking a risk. If only I had tuned out what other people thought, I might have taken that leap which would have propelled me forward.
In a world of Yelp, Airbnb, and Uber reviews, which are all highly subjective, we are faced with people's opinions of us more than ever. Our multifaceted personality cannot be reduced down to stars, yet it often is. It's important to tune these things out, especially if you are sensitive to things like that.
The Language Barrier
For the last few years, I have been living abroad in Asia. Finding your way in a new country can provide challenges. I would say the biggest obstacle is the language barrier.
I've sat silently through meetings I didn't understand, worked quietly at my desk while my coworkers carried on unknown conversations around me. I've been asked if I felt curious about what they were saying and was I concerned if they were talking about me. The answer for me is, no. What they say about me is not my business (see above point). I cannot control someone's opinion of me, so what's the point in allowing their thoughts of me into my head. I've always been someone who is sensitive to criticism (I know, I'm working on it) so for me, the best thing is to not listen to it at all.
I watched this scene in a movie the other day where two people were talking about another man, calling him a "stupid tourist". The man then smiles and nods, thanking them and wishing them a good day. This simple scene illustrates how not listening to the negativity of others can keep us in this state of happiness.
We simply do not need to hear and take in every conversation that is going on around us. I like to think this keeps our minds clear and unclouded. We are then free to fill it with information and content that we choose carefully and intentionally.
We are living in the information age. We have the ability to learn about anything from a small device that we keep in our pockets. We are constantly being informed through the internet, TV, podcasts, and blogs. There is news and information coming at us 24 hours a day if we allow it.
Because there is so much information, not all of it is useful, or even accurate. There can be news reports created to incite fear or to push a political position. Propaganda is not only something present in authoritarian governments, we are presented with milder forms of it all the time.
As I mentioned before, there is an information threshold. You want to keep informed of things that are happening in the world around you, but keep it to the facts only. Find a reputable, non-biased news source through which you can remain informed. Then, turn it off and tune out. Once you go beyond this information threshold, you are being fed subjective opinions and hearsay. This does nothing useful for you and only serves to jumble up the useful and accurate facts that you've already learned.
Now that we are in the midst of a global pandemic, COVID-19 news is available 24 hours a day. It goes far beyond reputable virologists and epidemiologists speaking on the matter. We are inundated with opinions, pseudo-science, politicians looking to push an agenda, none of which is helpful to us. In this time especially, we need to tune out the noise and tune into our truth.
Creating Space for Possibility
When we come at life with this sense of "having it all figured out", we miss out on something beautiful. We miss the spontaneity and the happy surprises that come up. If we focus too much on an end goal of what we want to accomplish or create, we can miss some pretty vital lessons along the way.
The unknown can be scary to some people, but it is actually very exciting. It is in the unknown where the pure potential lies. We can fill it with whatever we want, and if we take the space to tap into our truth, we can create something beautiful.