You Don't Know What You Don't Know
I read a great article written by a woman that outlined some of the things that women go through on a daily basis. These things range from how men look at them to how other women treat them to comparisons that they make to expectations that society puts on them to react to situations. The main premise behind this article was how their husbands and boyfriends didn’t understand many of these things simply because they didn’t know. They had never had to deal with stuff like this themselves and so they couldn’t relate. It really got me thinking: you (we, me) don’t know what you don’t know.
We’ve all seen the memes going around that talk about how we never know what other people are going through behind the wall that they put up. Sometimes this wall is a shield, sometimes it is a weapon. But the thing holds true is that each one of us experiences life in our own way. And through each experience that we go through it helps to shape our outlook on each interaction we go through and whiteness going forward. This is very interesting and it is exponential on how it changes how we see the world. Many of us get caught up in this. It leads to many issues that complicate and make things worse- alcohol and drug abuse, withdrawal from relationships, isolation and in some cases suicide. Our own minds are our own worst enemies when left to their own devices.
There has been a lot of violence in the world lately. Some of it comes down to our own opinions on why people do the things they do. Many of these ideas that we have are false and this comes back to the fact that we don’t know what we don’t know. Many of us don’t realize this fact which leads us to not asking questions that could help to enlighten us. We’re all guilty of being quick to judge, quick to make an assumption and quick to write people off before we’ve even considered asking a question. Asking what someone is thinking, why someone does or did something. Just think how our thoughts could be changed by asking a question. But we don’t because we’re either afraid that we don’t know the right question to ask, we’re afraid of the answer, or worse yet we’re so caught up in ourselves that we don’t even consider it in the first place.
I know I’m guilty of this. Going back to my childhood I can remember situations in middle and high school where people laughed at me or someone else for asking what was perceived as a “stupid” question. And nobody likes to be laughed at. And for a long time I would write off the questions I had because I was afraid of this type of rejection. And I look back at how many opportunities I passed over to not only increase my knowledge or empathy but someone else's. Because any question that one person has, someone else has. And the reality is that we’re all afraid of rejection on some level.
Asking questions can eliminate nearly all of the misunderstandings that we have in society. Asking questions can cultivate the dialogue that we have between each other, and this can increase the connection that we have with one another. It can rebuild relationships. It can soothe wounds that have been festering for so long between people. It can heal. Because deep down we all want the same thing. We want to be loved. We want to be understood.
I’m working to be better at asking not just the right questions but more questions. And I implore everyone reading this to do the same. It’s the only way we’re going to break through the barrier that we’ve all put up. And the barrier has to come down. One way or another it will.