This statement has given me heartburn for quite a while. On its face, it seems reasonable. But I wrestled with it over several years, trying to figure out why it bothered me. Then it hit me – I’ve met a lot of people who know better, but don’t do better. While Maya’s statement seems obvious, it flies in the face of our often entitled culture.
Earlier this year, medical intuitive Caroline Myss told a fascinating story on her radio show at Hay House Radio. She counseled a woman who had diabetes. Toward the end of the session, they talked about exercise. She remembered something like, It may be obvious, but you need to exercise every day, in addition to making the diet changes we’ve discussed. It may not be fun, or something you want to do, but it’s absolutely necessary if you’re going to be well.
The woman looked at her, gave her advice a couple of minutes of thought, and then blurted out, “Well, I’m not going to do that.”
Caroline stated that she was absolutely stunned by her candor. On the other hand, she was completely impressed. Most of the time she sees a lot of nodding heads from her clients, and yet knows they will not follow her guidance once they leave. This client was absolutely clear that she had no intention of following the advice.
A perfect example of knowing better, yet not wanting to do better. For a variety of reasons – it’s too hard, it’s inconvenient, you’re asking too much from me, etc. I began to understand that I disagreed with any inference of an automatic, causal relationship between knowing better and doing better. Ideally and certainly there should be. But not always necessarily.
On last week’s show, Oprah used a slightly different phrase at one point. “When you know better, you can do better.” Ahhhhhh, yes, absolutely. In the words of Mohandas Ghandi, “The difference between what we’re doing and what we are capable of doing would solve most of the world’s problems.”