Give Up What You Think You Know

Here’s a short version of a story about me I used to tell myself: After getting divorced in my mid-20s, I was single even at age 49 despite some dating and several short-term relationships during the intervening years. I came to believe I would never have a good relationship, and I was often upset and frustrated about it.

One day, as I whined yet again about not having a man in my life, an exasperated friend said to me, “Maybe it’s time to give up what you think you know.” Wow—for some cosmic reason, that was exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. The truth of her statement flashed all the way down to my soul and sparked a gigantic shift in my Story.

My first thought was, well, the only common denominator in all my relationships was, um, me, so this must mean I’m not meant to have a lasting relationship or a marriage. Armed with that knowledge, I set about being happy on my own, content with my friends and activities, and even looking forward to living my life alone in the way I wanted to live it. And it worked. I was finally happy on my own and gave up the search for A Man.

Yet, the Universe had other ideas, and within a year I met Ken. Only this time,  I shifted my expectations and stayed true to myself and refused to fall into my old patterns of relationship, like being needy and afraid to stand up for what I wanted. The greatly condensed version: Ken and I were able to slowly build a true partnership based on love and respect, and now we’ve been happily married for nearly 14 years.

I feel so blessed to have been so immediately and intensely struck by those few words from a friend, so that I truly was able to make the shift and give up what I thought I knew. It’s not often that such an amazing thing has happened to me. Usually, when I am able to make a change in myself or my life, it’s more gradual, even grudging. But no matter how change has come about, my experience of reality has been altered and my Story changed accordingly.


Recall a personal experience that was not so positive at first but which you were able to turn in a more positive direction when you thought about it in a different way–when you were able to give up what you thought you knew. It need not be a life-changing or lightning-bolt kind of experience; even a small one will do. Write about your story before the shift and then about what caused you to give up what you thought you knew and create a new way of thinking about it. How did your life change as a result? Write for at least 15 minutes.


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