The old proverb “ignorance is bliss” is often trotted out to assist and support those who worry about things they haven’t even come to know about yet. In those circumstances it can be true.
Examples of where ignorance genuinely is bliss include other people’s opinions of us, unpreventable calamities that are approaching and most of the stuff that occupies our worrisome anxious minds.
We really do spend too much time sweating the small stuff.
The challenge many of us have is that we can point to many situations where, with hindsight, if we could have psychically divined or guessed what was going to happen, things would have turned out radically better.
There will be many high ranking political leaders having the sniper-like telescopically accurate vision that is only available with hindsight, pointed at them over the current Ukraine invasions, that would really rather not have been ignorant…or would they?
There are plenty of examples in our lives where we choose ignorance. Let’s call it feigned ignorance. Where there is enough doubt in the air for us to sell ourselves the lie that “it’s nothing to worry about” or “forget it, nothing is going to go wrong.” That can be quite healthy if we know we have done everything we can to influence a result and know there is nothing more we can do. In that case, worrying just adds an unnecessary emotional layer. However, choosing to ignore a warning sign because we don’t think we have the “bandwidth to deal with it right now” can be a recipe for disaster. In the case of Ukraine this is being borne out in front of our eyes.
Where ignorance really is not bliss is when it involves our mental health. It’s one of our classic feigned ignorance areas.
To quote Karl Popper “Ignorance is not a simple lack of knowledge but an active aversion to knowledge, the refusal to know, issuing from cowardice, pride, or laziness of mind.”
Bear in mind that pride is the opposite of, and often the collaborator with, shame and it is stigma that often makes us choose feigned ignorance.
Too many of us ignore vital signs that we would rather not think about and try to bury them in our subconscious. That is the opposite of being genuinely ignorant and innocently not worrying. By spotting an issue and not taking action we let it fester. Something that could have been dealt with quickly can become a crisis that requires weeks of therapy.
I treat my mind like I do my car. My car is essential for me to do my job and to enjoy the freedoms that life affords me. So I get it serviced regularly by an expert and then if I notice a sound I don’t like I take it to the same expert and get them to look at it. Mental health is the same. I just use a therapist instead of a mechanic.
So learn to face up to the little signs, do a little self reflection, and take action where appropriate.
If you really don’t know what the signs are take a look at www.myinternalworld.com there’s an assessment in there that has 94% of people tested telling us it is accurate. The report you get tells you the good stuff that is going on as well as raising areas you may need a little help with. In addition there is a load of resources in there that can help you work on something you may or may not have been aware of. It’s private, accessible anytime and costs £5 per month.
What’s to lose?
Ignorance. That’s what. Lets get aware, take action and enjoy life.
Note: Employers, you can provide this for your employees and reap the benefits of an emotionally resilient workforce. Take a look here