Yes but I know that already is a phrase that has caught my attention over the years. In the last several of weeks, I have heard “Yes but, I know that already” numerous times in various situations. Because this kept coming up, I decided to look into the comment further.
I noticed this felt odd to me somehow to hear it said because I am such an advocate for being a student and for learning in general. Being a teacher, I also spend time learning so it follows that hearing the phrase “I know that already” so frequently is a bit disconcerting.
My belief is that it is a vital part of living to be open and teachable. I learned many years ago that being open means that I am open to receive even when I think I know or it doesn’t apply to me. Over time, I have been enlightened most when I read or watched or attended an event that my first impression, was not for me. There have been several life altering, profound happenings that have changed the direction of my life as a result of being open to suggestions that seemed not for me or too way out at the time. I don’t remember where exactly I learned the “be open and say yes” approach to life. I think it was around graduate school days in the late 1980’s. I had a couple of amazing professors and it seems this behavior was learned around that time.
My definition of success is that “I learned something.” Even if I intellectually know the information being presented, I am successful because I learned something and that is that I have the cognitive knowledge already. This strategy has proven valuable over time.
When I hear the comment “yes but, I know that already”, I often hear a form of deflection or defensiveness. It is a sign of closed mindedness or insecurity. Being defensive or closed minded stunts your growth and eventually leads to a kind of isolation and potential loneliness. Many woes boil down to being lonely or the fear of being lonely. When you project fear into your world, the predator types capitalize on that fear. Even without a word being spoken, this existential fear is causing so many issues, including relationships that are not healthy and a work environment that can be stressful and oppositional.
I have facilitated many groups and workshops over the past 25 years and from time to time someone will come who repeatedly says “I know” over and over. Every time I inquire, I am met with a well scripted intellectual comment lacking real insight and integration of knowledge. Recently, I mentioned this to some group members who “know it already” and my experience held true.
The longest distance is from our head to our heart. By taking your knowledge and using it as a deflection, you consistently keep yourself a step away from a “real” connection to yourself and others. This way of going through life causes isolation, depression, increased fear, anxiety, anger, irritation and loneliness.
In my work, I teach and practice open learning with time and opportunity for integration. It is in the integration that the mastery and freedom can be realized. Because one of my roles professionally is teacher, I often hear the “I know that already” from people. Sometimes it is pride and ego, sometimes fear, yet always it creates a disconnection and separation somehow.
What I say is that your life experiences are not merely about what you know. Sure this type of knowledge serves for exams in school. The majority of the value is in the power and synergy of the human connection. Following nearly every group or workshop, I hear more about the connections and ah-has than the linear information presented. The power of being in attendance of a live event lies on many more levels than the facts and information.
When I am invited to participate in an event, I say yes, even and especially if I think I know the topic. Always, I come away with a new excitement and a new joy. The shared experience and insights will never again be replicated. I always get something valuable and most of the time it is not as I expected. Even and especially when “I know that already” seems to apply, I learn with an open mind. I always come away fulfilled and more wise.
When I hear you say “Yes but, I know that already”, I am committed to holding open the possibility for you to become open and release the defensive façade. One day you will appreciate and value of the very connection you run from. One day you will relax into your inherent value and will release the compulsion to defend and deflect. You are worthy and there is no need to hide any longer behind fear based thoughts, words or actions.