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Wednesday, January 20, 2010


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I admire the way you are constantly pushing yourself to be better in every possible way -- a better wife, better mother, better person. I, too, am an insufferable know-it-all, leaning more toward wanting to give advice (that often wasn't necessarily requested in the first place.) I feel like I'm being so generous and helpful and -- no. It really needs to stop. Thank you for the reminder that choosing to bite my tongue may be better for those around me.

This is so interesting-- just yesterday I had a long talk with my 6 yr old about squelching his inner know-it-all. I wouldn't, um, be speaking from personal experience or anything. *cough* The older kids on the bus are being mean to him when he attempts to "helpfully" point out their mistakes. ("But, mom, Jordan thinks that Valentine's Day is in January and IT'S NOT!") It's REALLY hard for him to bite his tongue when the people around him are saying things that he knows are wrong. Tough life lesson and I feel his pain!

Here is my know-it-all confession: I sometimes ask for people's advice/opinions about things for which I already have a decision/opinion established. Why do I do this? I sometimes don't even realize I'm doing it until after the fact. I think it subconsciously feeds my know-it-all tendencies...allows me to confirm that I really DO know it all. Super annoying and kind of joy-sucking for all involved too. Why am I wasting people's time if I already know my own mind and will probably end up being dismissive of their opinions and smug about my own? Gah, must stop!

Good topic, Arwen!

I have the same problem. I'm working on it.

Happy Birthday to your sweet little boy!

I share this problem, too, and I've been working on it for a couple of years. It's an ongoing battle, but you are so right (see what I did there?) -- it's worth it!

It's a good thing to do. I read something about it in passing a few years ago, and I have to agree that just shutting up and letting somebody give their expert opinion is a really wonderful gift. They get the good feeling first, and then you get to see them all lit up, which wouldn't have happened if you'd squelched it. You are really wise to get this in check now because your children will absolutely thrill you with their discoveries and insights if you let them enlighten you.

I also agree that changing the way we apologize is a wonderful gift to give to our people. I had to learn that sometimes apologizing more freely is good, too. Nobody likes to have to justify why they feel offended enough to seek my apology. If it's freely given, they are more able to sometimes say, oh it wasn't that bad, don't worry about it.

Sadly, I did not learn this in my 20s so yay for you for getting with the program sooner!!!

I am terrible with faux-apologies, too.

I mentioned this in the comment section of Maggie's new blog last night, but I've been reading your blog for years and posts like this are one of the reasons why. Thank you (and bless you) for sharing your struggles. It makes it easier for many of us.

It's so true that know-it-alls are joy-killers!

Hear, hear from a fellow know-it-all. My problem is that I apparently say things in a know-it-all sort of way which ends up insulting people. I think I also say things in a way that implies, "Why didn't you know that? You must be stupid." I really need to work on that, even though I honestly don't intend for things to come out that way.

Great post! Something that I've been working on too.

I realized a few years ago that my know-it-all tendencies (and my inability to gracefully accept correction) are at root based in the fear that people will not love me if I'm not right. It looks ridiculous typed out like that, doesn't it? And I know it's ridiculous, but I continue to be afraid that if I stop sounding intelligent, I won't have anything left to offer. :-P

So well written. An excellent reflection and one which applies personally to me. Thank you!

Thanks, Arwen! I very much enjoyed reading and reflecting on growing in this area... and I don't believe all your friends can be that proud and defensive too. no, no. i think i have enough of it for the lot of us. :)

Okay, I love the new photo. (Brandon gave you permission, right? I hear he's a stickler about his copyrights!)

Also, I don't think I've ever heard you say that you already knew something. Or maybe I just don't remember it if you did.

I should also work on saying "I'm sorry." I've told you that your friendship inspires me to be a better person, yes?

OH my gosh. Are we the same person? Arwen, I have the exact same problem and am so grateful that you wrote this. I, too, have chosen my word for the year based on this issue - humility. But, taking what you've written to heart, I can see how perfectly joy fits in.

Since I first read this post, I've even observed myself being put to the test with a person who I ALWAYS treat in this manner. As I listened to her talk, all I could think about was letting her have her joy. And it was SO HARD to keep my big mouth shut. But you're so right, Arwen. So right.

As for the apologizing thing - yup. A friend of mine called me on that once and it has stuck with me ever since. I remember her telling me that she didn't need to hear an "I'm sorry BUT this is why I did this...or I'm sorry BUT you do THIS..." she just needed to know that I was sorry.

Ugh. It's hard looking within and seeing your own shortcomings - especially when you realize in doing so how very much time you have spent identifying the shortcomings of others. God is good, though, isn't he? He shows us these things - often through each other has he has done with this blog post of yours - and what a mercy if we can learn the lesson now rather than later.

Thank you for writing this. xo

Oh, I just knew you were going to write this post.

Okay, no. Sorry. I had to say that.

I haven't been able to visit your blog nearly as often as I'd like, but I'll be back. What a lovely post.

But then, you knew that.

Its pleasent to see your thoughts about 2010, may all of us enjoy in 2010.

Oh I'm very big on joy--it's such a blessing to focus on it. And the know-it-all thing is not only a personality trait. It's a learned family trait, and you know what I'm talking about! Still a constant struggle, but I actually realized what a joy-killer and relationship-squasher it is during middle school.

My wife always come up with great ideas. I guess she is a bit know-it-all too. Whenever she shares to me an idea I will remain silent and with an arrogant tone I will repeat her idea exactly the way she said it as if its my idea... I just do that to annoy her, and for a good 5 minutes of laugh trip together.

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