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The Perks of Being a Know-It-All

by Rebecca Hansen about a year ago in Secrets
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No prophet is welcome in her own space.

The Perks of Being a Know-It-All
Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

Recently someone asked the question, "What do you know that you are pretending not to know?"

Well, where to begin!

I have always known things. I knew what my Christmas presents were going to be, and I knew when something was wrong (even if my parents insisted things were fine), and I knew how to calm down each of my 13 siblings.

I also knew that there were things I wasn't supposed to know, and I accepted that.

But I knew.

I can tell when strangers have been fighting, and what the topic of conflict is. I know you are lying to me, and I know why.

I walk into a room and I grasp the big picture - what is happening, who is driving it, how the parts work and don't work together.

Call it a blessing or a curse, or just a knowing.

It wouldn't be so bad if I were wrong more often. But I am usually proven right, and so the knowing comes with a constant question: should I open my mouth?

It is usually not my place to speak up about the things I know.

I cannot tell my loved ones everything I think they are doing wrong. I cannot go around telling perfect strangers that their husband is abusive, or that they should be promoting a different employee, or that the path they are taking will probably end in ruin.

Nobody wants to live with a know-it-all. Nobody wants to be corrected all the time. Nobody wants an unknown nobody telling them what to do.

I don't know why I'm like this. In my evangelical upbringing, we would have said I had the gift of prophesy. In more witchy circles, perhaps I would have the sight. The field of psychology definitely suggests that I suffer from a hypervigilant trauma response. Or simply oldest-child syndrome. Delusions of grandeur, for good measure.

In a perfect world, I would know when to share my knowing because people would ask me to share. I would know when to share my knowing because people would pay me for it.

Or maybe in a perfect world I wouldn't know the things I know, because they are rarely any of my business.

But since we are talking about getting paid for our passion, let's assume that in a perfect world people pay me to tell them what I know.

I could get paid to observe the day-to-day operations of a business and point out all the places where ego is the enemy of efficiency.

I could get paid to listen to the complaints of multiple disputants and lay out the issue from an unbiased perspective.

I could get paid to tell women to leave their abusive partners, to tell parents to listen to their children, to tell dude-bros that they need therapy and not another truck.

I could, theoretically, get paid by world leaders to advise on issues ranging from climate change to violent crime.

Let's be clear. I am not qualified to do any of those things. I am not a therapist, or a mediator, or a business adviser. I am certainly not a political analyst or a social worker or a parenting coach.

I am a know-it-all with a history of poor boundaries (working on it!) and a definitely-inflated sense of my own importance.

Who cares what I have to say?

The people who know me care. Family, friends, bosses - they seek my advice. Which is sometimes awkward because, boundaries.

And also I'm not charging my family and friends for my thoughts. And I have never charged my bosses nearly enough.

I should probably just finish learning how to pretend I don't know things and go get a job answering the phone behind some desk somewhere.

The older sister in me, however, dreams of a career where I just tell people what they are doing wrong.


About the author

Rebecca Hansen

Putting words down in writing makes me feel alive. What do I write about? Yes. Also that. I like to think that my randomness is charming.

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