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You Can’t Know It All

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD By August 22, 2018

The way our society works can make it feel like you are expected to be perfect, always having the answers at hand. But in rehab we learn that everyone is fallible. Everyone makes mistakes and absolutely everyone has subjects that they just don’t know much about. There’s so much in the world, how could we not?

It may seem overwhelming that you don’t know everything, or maybe it feels obvious that that is true. But adults these days really do act like they should have all the answers. It can really get you down when you feel uneducated or unintelligent, or when it feels like other people may think you aren’t measuring up. It may even seem like you’re expected to know it all. It can especially feel this way if you’re a parent, or in a kind of leadership role in your career or community. But anyone in their right mind can’t possibly expect that of you. No one knows everything. And once you admit that to yourself a couple of things will happen for you.

 

Relief from Perfectionism

If you really digest the fact that you can’t know everything, even if you had the time and energy to study everything, there would always be more to learn, it’s actually quite a relief. It’s a letting go of an unnecessary expectation that can haunt you and that very well may have driven your addiction. If you can’t know everything then you cannot be perfect. I’ll say it again. You can’t know everything, so you can’t be perfect.

 

Start Asking Questions

Discovery InstituteSometimes as an adult it feels embarrassing to ask questions. People talk to you and suddenly something comes up- a subject matter that you don’t know about, a fact that you can’t recall or have never encountered. You struggle to admit that you don’t understand what the person is saying or can’t answer when asked a question. Instead of pretending to understand when this happens, try saying “oh, sorry, I’m not familiar with that. Can you explain it to me?”  Asking questions is good for you and for those around you.

Another one I like to pull out, when someone is trying to tell me something but I don’t understand what they are saying, is “I’m sorry, I don’t quite understand, can you say it again with different words?” You’d be surprised how people react. They aren’t used to someone admitting that they don’t get it. But since I started doing this, a couple of years ago, I haven’t had anyone treat me like I was stupid. People usually look at me more surprised than anything else that I’m willing to say that I don’t get it, and then they do indeed try again. And usually I get it, but honesty sometimes I ask for clarification a couple of times.

Let yourself admit when you don’t know the answer. Ask questions so that you can learn. People might act surprised when you don’t know something they may have thought was common knowledge, but they will respect that you were willing to say so. Most people are afraid to admit their own lack of knowledge, just like you are. Showing them that asking questions is safe can improve relationships through better communication. It can also ease that common anxiety for yourself and everyone around you.

Are you or anyone you know are suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, and are seeking sober living in New Jersey? Discovery offers the best New Jersey rehab. We are here to listen and guide you through to the first steps of hope. Please call us at 844-478-6563.

 

Article Reviewed by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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