‘I Don’t Know’ Is A Real Answer

October 7, 2013

When I was raising my son, he often came to me with a ‘want’ (that he really, really believed was a ‘neeeed’) and he’d neeeed an answer NOW.  More often than I’d like to admit I’d cave and in frustration give permission for something that didn’t feel right to me.  Maybe even more painful was when I’d say no and realize later that there was absolutely no reason not to give him a yes.

I learned to say, ‘Honey, in the future if you need an immediate answer, you’ll probably get a no.  If you’re looking for better odds for yourself give me at least a few hours’ notice.”

I discovered that ‘I don’t know’ is a viable answer/position.  ‘I don’t know’ tells me I need something.  Either I need: 1) more information; 2) reassurance; 3) more time; or 4) a combination of any or all of them.

A more recent dilemma came up the other day.  I had to decide if I could add a trip to the west coast when I’ve already got one planned for next month.  Could I make it work financially and schedule-wise?  It’s a big deal—one of my sisters will be singing on stage with a band and I want to be there for her first real performance.  Turned out I needed all three before I could make a decision that felt good:  information about flights and coordinating my schedule with the rest of the family; reassurance that I wasn’t crazy; and 24 hours to sleep on it to make sure I wasn’t crazy.  So I’m going and I’m over the moon excited!!!

Are you sitting on the horns of a decision that would benefit from a little more of something?  Give yourself a break.  The next time you’re feeling that visceral, hugely uncomfortable sense of pressure that signals your head is probably going to explode because you’re trying to make a decision before you’re ready, stop…get quiet…and give yourself what you need.

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