You Don’t Have to Know Everything.

Via Sara Avery
on Jul 31, 2013
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One very typical fear that I talk with my clients with a lot is the feeling that we have to know everything. Or, at least, the feeling that we have to seem to know everything.

Have you ever pretended that you knew something when you really didn’t? I’m raising my hand here. I’ve done this a lot! Someone talks about something I’ve never heard of, and I just nod my head knowingly. Thanks to the internet, I can quickly look it up once I’m alone. (How did I even survive pre-internet?!) Does this sound familiar to you?

Feeling the need to be perfect is closely tied to this fear, also. Maybe someone points out something that you did wrong, and you get defensive and try to convince them you did it perfectly, just with some other standard in mind. Or, you try and blame them somehow. There are lots of ways that we try and overcome this feeling that there’s something wrong with us for not having done something perfectly.

Rationally, you know that no one knows everything or can be perfect, right? We’re all human, everyone makes mistakes, blah, blah, blah. We have many ways of trying to talk ourselves out of feeling bad when this fear gets triggered, but it still feels bad, doesn’t it?

If any of this rings a bell, it’s one of the pieces of Learned Distress that you share with me and many others.

Early in life, we all absorb this feeling that there’s something wrong with us being just the way that we are. Along side that, we develop a survival mechanism that lets us move forward in life, despite this Learned Distress. For many of us, it includes the feeling that in order to survive, we need to know everything or be perfect, or at least try and pretend that we are. Learned Distress and our survival mechanism for handling it are developed before we are capable of thinking at all. So, we’re unable to talk ourselves out of it with what we know rationally—that it’s impossible to know everything or be perfect.

There are a couple of themes that I have my clients use to unlearn this fear of needing to know everything. One is about enjoying their own uniqueness. They may not know everything, but their uniqueness adds something to the world that no one else can add. When we all really contribute our uniqueness and collaborate, we create something more wonderful than is possible when we’re just guessing at knowing everything.

Another theme I have them work with is about allowing their natural well-being to speak through them. One feature of this piece of Learned Distress is feeling that we have to work hard at knowing things or being perfect. But, the harder we work at that, the less our natural well-being (you might call it intuition or inner knowing, in this case) can come through.

Just today, a client told me she had the weirdest experience at work. She told her supervisor about an intense interaction she had with another co-worker about a shared project. Her supervisor pointed out that my client didn’t know some element of it. My client said she was just shocked as these words came out of her mouth: “Oh, I didn’t know that. Well, it is still a new job, and I’m still learning.” She said to me, “Sara, who am I?! It was so bizarre that I was comfortable with not knowing everything!” This kind of surprise is common with the personal transformation work I do with my clients. Because we don’t cause this change to happen with our rational minds, it sneaks up on us and surprises us in good ways.

Speaking for myself, life is so much less anxiety-producing when I don’t have to know everything about everything. If you share this piece of Learned Distress with me, I wish you the same kind of relief I have found in just being able to be myself.

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Ed: Sara Crolick


About Sara Avery

Sara Avery’s passion is helping people uncover the energy that creates their story and the uniqueness of who they really are. In 2001, she transitioned from her first career as an orchestral violinist to guiding people through the deep transformation of Quanta Change. Quanta Change identifies Learned Distress (the feeling that “there is something wrong with me” absorbed in the womb and early in life) as the source of non-well-being. This unique process works with your brain during sleep to permanently remove layers of Learned Distress, allowing your natural well-being to become the source from which your life is generated. Sara’s clients discover a new ease and joy in life that they’ve never experienced—in emotional, spiritual, and physical realms. One client said, “I’ve been seeking for 40 years, and this is by far the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.” Learn more on her website or read more from Sara on her blog. Or, connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.


2 Responses to “You Don’t Have to Know Everything.”

  1. Joe Sparks says:

    Very good article. My perspective is that we are reacting to the conditions we grew up in. It seems for most of us, we acquired the distresses of the adults in charge. We did not start out this way and would of been able to function at a higher level if these distresses could of been discharged at the time we were being hurt. Most of us have a back log of these early hurts that interfere with our thinking and have nothing to do with our abilities and the present time reality. You are right, these are more survival patterns, then fresh thoughts.Thanks for your perspective.

  2. Sara_Avery says:

    Thanks, Joe. You might be interested to learn more about the theory behind this, which describes in more detail exactly what you're talking about…HOW Learned Distress actually got put into place and then how it's actually generating the negative moments of our lives, without our conscious input or control: Thanks, again, for sharing your thoughts on this!