We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know
Recently I was talking with a friend who is suddenly seeing more truth about her life and the family she grew up in. She coined a term to explain what kept her from seeing truth for so many years: perverse training. While seeing truth is always ultimately a good thing, coming into awareness of that truth is very painful. In fact, I think that’s one of the reasons people prematurely end their psychotherapy—they contact truth, it’s painful and rocks their world and sense of self, and the desire to retreat back into not knowing is greater than the desire to know.
Perverse training is what keeps us not knowing. An example from my own life is that I didn’t know I was athletic until well into my thirties during a tennis lesson when my teacher commented to the class about my athleticism. I grew tall and thin in my tween years and bumped into things a lot, and my family joked I was a klutz. That belief stuck with me! The perversity of this is that while I was bumping into things around the house, I also was flying across a lake waterskiing on one ski and ice skating on Friday nights! Not until my thirties did I question the belief that I was a klutz even though the evidence refuted that decades earlier!
We have all grown up with some degree of perverse training and have undoubtedly committed episodes of perverse training on our own children. (To my own adult children: feel free to inform me of the ways I perversely trained you—I’m open to hearing about it and committed to knowing what I don’t know.) So what do we do with this? Be willing to venture into the courageous territory of learning what we don’t know about ourselves! This is challenging, humbling, and at times embarrassing. Yet it is only through a willingness to learn what we don’t know that we can grow and evolve ourselves, and connect and relate to others with more truth and authenticity.
Wishing you the grand opportunity to learn new things about yourself as you push back against whatever perverse training and untruth you have adapted to.
With warm wishes for you to experience what happens as you commit to learning what you don’t know,