How Can You Know What You Don’t Know About Yourself? Here Are 3 Ways.

“There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns…things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns…things we don’t know we don’t know.”
– Donald Rumseld

The ladies will be here in a couple of hours. I want to get the honey bun cake in the oven soon.

But I can’t find my mixer. I always keep it in the cabinet by the refrigerator. I open the cabinet door and look inside, but I don’t see it. I look elsewhere; I still can’t find it.

I open the cabinet again. I move things around with my hands.

And there it is. In plain sight. Why didn’t I see it the first time I looked?

There’s a reason. . . .

When We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

We all have blind spots.

Blind spots are things that are true about us and around us, but we can’t see them. In some ways they protect us until we’re capable of seeing the truth. God doesn’t create us with perfect knowledge; we have to grow into it.

But blind spots quickly outlive their usefulness. They hurt not only us, but also those around us, if we don’t outgrow them.

Yet it’s not easy to know what we don’t know.

How can we wake up from our ignorance?

1. BE CURIOUS

Curiosity is a gift. Sometimes I forget to be curious when I think I’ve already figured out the best way to do something or I think I already know everything I need to know.

But there is always more to learn about what we do and why. Ask God for guidance. Stay open. Look deeper at your motives, at your actions, at your thoughts.

2. ASK QUESTIONS

A quick way to find out what we don’t know about ourselves is to ask someone else about us. Pray about who to ask. Others see us in ways we don’t see ourselves.

A close friend or partner can give us insights we’ve been blind about. The information they provide us is an invaluable mirror and a shortcut to greater clarity.

3. WATCH OTHERS

In addition to direct information about ourselves, we also can learn more about ourselves by learning about others.

Listen closer when others are talking. Read widely. See how others respond to situations compared to how we do.

The more we grow and learn about ourselves, the more we grow in relationships with others, too. Maturation contributes to a healthy, whole life.

The More We Look, the More We See

Only when I see my blind spots can I change them.

So where was the mixer the first time I looked in the cabinet?

It was in its spot. Front and center on the cabinet shelf.

But I had been looking for our white mixer. We’d had it for years. Until it finally quit working and we had to throw it away. And bought a black mixer.

The black mixer was sitting where the white mixer once sat. But because I was looking for the white appliance instead of a black one, I didn’t notice it until I was forced to take another look.

I’ll never be aware of all my blind spots. But I want to uncover more and more along the way.

The clearer we see, the more we can flourish.


Have you had any blind spots uncovered lately? Share in the comments.

If you want to read more about our hidden biases, start here with the series, “I just can’t see it! How to uncover hidden biases.”

sharing at these linkups

32 thoughts on “How Can You Know What You Don’t Know About Yourself? Here Are 3 Ways.

  1. Susan Nowell @ My Place to Yours

    “But blind spots quickly outlive their usefulness. They hurt not only us, but also those around us, if we donโ€™t outgrow them.” OUCH! This is so very true, as I’ve occasionally learned the hard way. The challenge, once we see our blind spots, is to actively accept them (not justify them) and start cleaning up the mess they left in their wake. Too bad they’re not all as innocent (any funny!) as your invisible mixer. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      This: “The challenge, once we see our blind spots, is to actively accept them (not justify them).” That’s one of the things I’m working on releasing this month, my need to justify myself. It’s why I fall into overexplaining. I guess we’re naturally predisposed to protect ourselves, but once we see something that needs changing, protecting ourselves means addressing it. Thanks, Susan!

  2. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Lisa, this is a wonderful post. And wow, blind spots, which initially are sometimes not our fault, can still be detrimental, if not dangerous. Ask my beloved. He’s a great driver, but actually caused an accident because of the blind spot on his behemoth (I do NOT like big SUVs, can you tell)? ๐Ÿ™‚ Fortunately, we were on the street and not the highway, and fortunately, he was moving forward from a stationery position at a stop light. BUT it was also fortunate that we had insurance. And this is what you are providing here… an insurance *and* an assurance plan that if we become aware of our blindspots, by knowing more about ourselves, it’s then that we can change them! I have a great quote by Calvin to share about knowing ourselves and God, but I’m literally typing with a wet head, and my hair is getting wonky! Need to go blowdry. ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh, I hope I can find the dryer! Just kidding!

    It’s serendipitous that you should share about missing something in plain sight. Literally last night, this essay cropped up in memories, and I reread it. It is making a different point, but (hopefully I’m not overstepping my welcome!), I thought I’d share it because it makes another point of really seeing and being aware. If you wish to remove it, don’t hesitate!

    Thank you again for a wonderful post.
    Love
    Lynn

    https://souldare.com/2015/04/24/guest-post-about-finding-with-lynn-d-morrissey/?fbclid=IwAR3__RGkVdF49QYKIw2k7RoMExi1uhn4PftljZZTdnf4smtrTF4tQbduqf4

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m very glad you shared the link to your Heartsights approach, Lynn. I enjoyed reading it! And my family has also always said, if it were a snake it would have bitten you. ๐Ÿ™‚ I also like your insurance and *assurance* plan. I need both!

  3. Maryleigh

    I have blind spot moments like that. Now when I can’t find something I’m looking for, I ask God to open my eyes to where “it” is because He knows where it is. Also, when I can’t find something, I’ve learned I have blind spots and need to slow myself down, take a breath and look at things more carefully! It’s good to be able to have a spouse or friend who you trust enough to say, “What am I not seeing here.” It takes bravery, though, to do that! This is a year where I want to see what I’m missing! Thanks for the visual – you had me at mixer! LOL

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You’re right that it takes bravery to ask someone to show us our blindspots. It doesn’t come naturally to us! But it can be so hopeful when our hearts are ready for it. I just have to work on readying my heart more often. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Lynn

    I would definitely not see the mixer either, Lisa! I have many blind spots and sometimes wonder what is happening to my brain! Lol! As king God to show me truths that I do not see is my prayer, always.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I agree, Lynn. It’s so important to ask God to show us truths we’re not aware of. Sometimes I wish God would show me a little quicker, but then I realize it’s usually ME that is the holdup, not God. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Ashley Rowland | HISsparrowBlog

    Your mixer story makes me laugh inside…that is so something I would do. Ha! Wonderful advice for uncovering our own blindspots.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I think we’re all in the same boat with this, Rebecca. I don’t suppose we can ever find all our blindspots, but hopefully we can continue to eliminate a few along the way.

  6. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Don’t know much about myself,
    and maybe that is good.
    Best leave me upon the shelf
    and think with head of wood
    that trips over the obvious,
    as subtlety doth pass me by,
    Neanderthal oblivious
    to everything but bright blue sky
    in which I see the sparrows flit,
    and watch the jet-trails cross the land,
    no introspective discomfit,
    and no need to understand
    the world of mice and world of men,
    far out of reach, beyond my ken.

  7. Jeanne Takenaka

    Lisa, I loved your post. First, I found myself grinning when you described how you (and I’ve done this more times than I care to admit) aren’t curious because you are pretty sure you’ve already learned all you need to know about a given topic or aspect of yourself. My boys both have this tendency, as do I. Your reminder to stay curious (and I would add stay teachable) is crucial for us to be able to see areas where we are blind, so to speak.

    I also loved your suggestion to watch others. This has been super helpful for me, especially in the past few years. Watching how others respondโ€”what their mindsets areโ€”in a given situation can be very enlightening and can inform how I handle similar situations.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m trying to remember if you’ve said before what your Enneagram number is, Jeanne. I’m a 5, and we typically think we’ve accumulated all the knowledge, yet still want more. lol. So many life lessons I’m still learning along the way!

  8. Jean Wise

    Lord, heal my blind spots!

    The practice of asking questions has grown so much for me last few years. It is much more powerful than I first realized and does follow a holy curiosity plus an honest of how much we really don’t know. Love this post!

  9. Michele Morin

    I try to listen between the lines with my closest family and friends. It’s horrifying to discover ways in which I have failed or disappointed or dropped the ball, but I would rather KNOW than not know!

  10. Donna

    Oh my, how I love this post, Lisa! Your escapade in the kitchen happens to me more times than I want to admit, and not just in the kitchen! I DO overlook my [own] blindspots often.
    And YES, I don’t know what I don’t know. You’re advice really hits home, especially the “be curious” directive. I am very curious by nature. But NOT about myself! I am learning to be curious in a kind and gentle with myself, which has revealed excellent insight into my motives, and blindspots!! Thank you!!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Being curious to see the negatives about ourselves likely doesn’t come naturally or easily to any of us. It can be quite painful. But not seeing things can be even more painful in the long run. So I’m with you, Donna–I’m learning to be more curious but in a kind and gentle way with myself. We deserve compassion ourselves too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Calvonia

    I love this post. The tip that speaks to me most is to ask questions. I often hesitate to invoke the opinions of others. Yet, I realize I need to hear what I can’t see. I need them to help me discover some areas of growth. I have many blindspots. I find it easier to see the plank in my neighbors eye than my own. Thank you for this.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I know; it’s so much easier to see other people’s faults yet overlook our own. I’m grateful for a kind spouse who helps me uncover things about myself that I’d rather not know, but without being harsh with me. Thanks for sharing here, Calvonia.

  12. Maree Dee

    Lisa,
    What great tips to take a better look at ourselves. Being curious is so important and one tip I tend to rush right by. It works great in relationships too. Thank you for the great reminders.

    Maree

  13. Anita Ojeda

    Your story made me smile! Usually hubby is the one who canโ€™t see appliances right in front of him ;). But I definitely have my blind spots. Asking others is scary, but a great way to get valuable feedback.

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