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Knowing Something vs. “Getting” It

When it comes to personal development, there are no new ideas. There are only ideas we’ve had in our heads for a while, that we finally “get” and start living by.

Is there a saying or a principle you’ve always known, that you only just recently “got”?

It’s kind of frustrating when you have an insight like this. If you try to talk about it or write it down, it usually ends up sounding obvious. Your friends might even say, “You knew that already,” or “You always talk about that.”

The difference between knowing something and getting it is what happens immediately afterwards.

True Insight Changes Your Behavior

Think about the jilted lover who only “knows” the relationship is over. He continues to call, hoping to reconcile with his true love.

Meanwhile, she’s talking to her friends, saying, “He just doesn’t get that it’s over.”

He’ll continue trying to reunite with her until he really gets it. Once he does, he can move on.

Personal growth happens when you GET something for the first time. The insight in your head moves down into your heart, and becomes a part of you. You start to behave as if it were true.

Until you act as if you know something is true, you don’t really get it. When your actual behavior changes all by itself (i.e., no willpower required), it’s a sign that a genuine shift has occurred.

By the way, don’t worry too much if you’ve gotten something at last, and then you forget it!

It’s in there somewhere … just like the insight that inspired me to begin writing this article, which I’ve already forgotten.

I believe the reason we forget even super-important insights is that they get integrated.

Like a sugar cube dropped into boiling water, once an insight is integrated it’s hard to extract.

But it’s in there. You can taste it.

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About Tina Gilbertson

Tina Gilbertson is a psychotherapist, speaker and author based in Denver, Colorado. She specializes in supporting parents of estranged adult children through therapy, consulting and other resources, and offers assertiveness training and executive coaching for organizations. The author of "Constructive Wallowing: How to Beat Bad Feelings by Letting Yourself Have Them" and the "Guide for Parents of Estranged Adult Children," Tina is often featured in the media as an expert on communication and relationships. Her blog on PsychologyToday.com is called "Constructive Wallowing."
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