Knowing Better, Doing Better, and GETTING IT

As a continuation of Monday’s article, “Knowing Better and Doing Better,” Kathy posed a question.

First, to summarize, I shared that “When You Know Better, You Do Better,” or so says Maya Angelou.  And most of the time, I would hope it works like that.  But in fact, that’s not always the case.  Why is it, that in some cases we know better, but we actually choose not to do better?

After reading the article, Kathy asked:

“What if we really don’t know better?  What if we can state what we should do or how we should be and even tell others what it should look like but we still just haven’t gotten that final experience or aha moment that changes everything for us and now we actually do know better so we can do better?  In other words, we can state it out loud, we can understand it in our minds because we have learned it, but we still just haven’t gotten ‘it’.  I wonder if when we finally ‘get it’, is that when we truly are able to do better?”

Did you follow?  Here’s my response to Kathy with a couple of examples to help illustrate.

I think of a smoker.  He/she knows better.  Perhaps he quit months ago, but he really, really wants a cigarette.  He knows better, I believe he ‘gets it’, but he chooses to smoke anyway.  He weighs his options and makes a trade off – and he does it on purpose, knowingly.  That’s the thing with this FREE WILL we’ve been given.  [Perhaps not the best example, I realize, because it gets into addiction, and that’s a whole separate thing.  So I offer this next example, again as a continuation from the last article.]

I thought of my son and what motivated his actions that landed him in the principal’s office.  It was partly peer pressure (a desire to appear cool in front of a classmate), but also a need to stand up for me;  he wasn’t about to let someone in his grade say something ugly about his mother.

I considered his actions.  How I’m guessing he justified it in his head, then figured he wouldn’t get caught.  He knew what he was doing was wrong, but chose to go ahead.  I believe he probably weighed all of it, and took the risk anyway because it was worth it.

He knew better, chose not to do better, and in my opinion, no, he didn’t ‘get it’.

The part of ‘getting it’, in this example, I believe translates to something different than in the first example.  I think the turning point in ‘getting it’ occurs when he comes to the realization that it doesn’t matter.  Once my son realizes that it doesn’t matter if Little Boy A thinks he’s cool or not and it doesn’t matter what Little Boy B says about his mother having had cancer, then that’s when the shift occurs from Knowing Better to Doing Better, and that’s also when he’ll ‘get it’.

I believe this is what Kathy means by ‘getting it’ – – when one wholly understands the essence of something.  In this case, when my son ‘gets it’, he’ll Let Go, realizing it doesn’t matter and therefore he cannot be impacted by others’ words.

The thing is, for each example you come up with, there may be a myriad of contributing factors: addiction, peer pressure, justice, etc.  The common denominator remains the same though:

I believe when you ‘get it’ you Let Go of assigning your stuff to it, whatever that stuff may be.  You come to Know, on a visceral level, that you are not what others are attempting to cast upon you.

I heard it said this way last week from a woman named Rita, “I no longer think that it’s possible that other people can hurt me.  They’re just giving me their observation and I’m giving it meaning.  And so I get to choose what that meaning is.”

Yeah, I think Rita ‘gets it’.  You get to choose what that meaning is.

And by the way, I think ‘getting it’ goes hand in hand with Trust.

Thank you for the question, Kathy.  Please keep them coming!!  It’s through our sharing, that we continue to learn and grow.