Taking Yourself On: Being A ‘Know-It-All’
In order to pursue being a ‘know-it-all’, we have to sacrifice self-acceptance and perpetuate perfectionism which, in the grand scheme of things, prevents us from being our true, authentic selves.
People may or may not recognize this, but being a ‘Know-It-All’ is actually a character flaw. We think it is something impressive, something necessary and a favorable trait but it actually keeps us from being ourselves. And it creates a pressure to know everything, which is not possible. Being a know it all is a form of perfectionism and, as they say, perfectionism is the highest form of self- abuse. We beat ourselves up for not being perfect, just like we can beat ourselves up for not knowing something or being wrong. And it perpetuates seeking outside validation or approval, which we really don’t need. It helps to recognize intellectually that is a flaw to stop perpetuating.
A lot of behaviors that don’t serve us are perpetuated unconsciously. And it takes awareness and a conscious effort to stop them for good. In my opinion, being a know it all is cultivated by the praise and validation we get from knowing something vs. being chastised and invalidated when we don’t know something or are wrong. So this is going to condition us to be know it alls when, in fact, it’s impossible to know everything. It is ok not to know everything. And doesn’t that seem more reasonable than the expectation of trying to know everything?
Acceptance is a key factor in making positive change. People may think that acceptance is not making any change, but it actually is a component necessary to stop perpetuating what is not you and doesn’t serve you. When we accept that we do not have to be perfect, know everything, do everything right, that’s when we find ourselves. Acceptance allows us to stop trying to be who we are not because we can accept who we are. When I recognized that it was okay not to know everything, I felt relief and guess what? I stopped trying to keep up the farce of being a know it all. I gave up on pursuing it. I got more and more comfortable saying “I don’t know, I’m not sure” and I also stopped thinking I knew things I couldn’t possibly know. When we think we know everything, we cross the boundaries of thinking we know things we couldn’t possibly know. Like when someone says “ I know she was thinking this” It is impossible to know what anyone else is thinking and we are projecting our know it all thinking onto them. We only know what people are thinking if they tell us. Knowing it all is actually just a lot of assumptions so with acceptance that we don’t know everything, we get to stop making those assumptions, a lot of which we can’t even prove.
With taking on our flaws, we gain a little more peace and confidence with each one gone. And with taking on being a know it all, I discovered the freedom of not knowing. Yes I don’t know everything. I know what I know. And I’m open to learn what I don’t know. Of course we as people know a lot and we all are capable of expansive, in depth, profound knowledge. Is there really any maximum to the amount the mind can know? But in the infinite of the world, one mind can’t possible contain even a fraction of all there is to know, in my opinion. Our mind is filled up with all we are exposed to, not everything there is to know. And when we can allow ourselves to just be ourselves, that’s when you’ll find you know enough, are good enough and are perfect in your own way, as meant to be. It’s when we try too hard, pretend to be more than we are or pursue the unattainable, that we miss out on the very thing we are trying so hard to accomplish, being our authentic selves. Being a know it all is not authentic because it is not possible. Being authentic is being who you are and that’s very possible with acceptance and taking on your flaws.