Strategic ignorance is a buzz phrase right now in the personal development world. Influencers tout it as a way to live a carefree, blissfully happy existence. Just strategically ignore anything that causes a twinge of pain or fear. You ignore any inconvenience in this world, including the people in your life that may be causing discomfort. You simply ignore anything that doesn’t please you!
I would venture a guess that these people also have relationships that are very superficial. Probably a lot of them. Probably not many people that would actually stick around for the hard stuff. And why would a person in this state even need that, because we are ignoring all of the hard stuff, right?
Pair this person with someone who has a huge heart, one who values connection, presence, elevation of relationships and … well… it can be a recipe for disaster. People with huge hearts aren’t made to connect superficially. They see beyond that. They see beyond the happiness facade to the truth underneath and they still love and cherish the connection. Even when it hurts them.
What do you do when you are in love with one of these huge hearts and you see them walking back into the lion’s den? When you have a huge heart yourself? You let them go. You watch from a distance and you stand by to pick up the pieces when they let hurt in again. And you keep showing up for them, because you see what they have to offer the world.
Loving someone is not always easy. It isn’t about ignoring all of the inconvenient parts. It isn’t about walking away when things get tough or you don’t see eye to eye. Sometimes loving someone is watching them walk a dangerous path and you quietly walk behind them, distracting evil from them as they journey. Sometimes loving someone is having a hard conversation when the time is right and sometimes it is keeping your mouth completely shut and silently crying your tears because you know that serves them better. When you truly love someone you want to protect them, you want to fight for them and with them, but sometimes they are fighting themselves, and that is a battle that you can only observe from the sidelines, cheer them on, and wipe away the blood, sweat and tears. This is one of the hardest parts of love.
Strategic ignorance. Yes, it can be useful. I can ignore the physical soreness in my body and keep working out because I know it is making me stronger. I can ignore people in my periphery that don’t hold the same values that I do because I know engaging will only lead to strife and close minded conversation.
What does strategic ignorance look like when it isn’t making a positive contribution? It looks like ignoring the $30,000 in credit card debt to continue living a lifestyle you can’t afford. It looks like ignoring conversations that require vulnerability and courage because walking away is easier. At the end of a life, I believe, it looks like regret. That is, of course, assuming the person in question is capable of true introspection.
Strategic ignorance. The quickest and easiest way to end up alone in life. Unless you are one of the lucky few who has someone with heart in your corner. And you can strategically ignore every time that you hurt them, knowing they will still show up for you. Unfortunately, people like this fail to recognize that there is one person that can’t be ignored, and that is the person inside. The self, the identity, the one that feels the happiness and the sorrow and the pain. And you can run from those feelings and cover them up in layers of superficiality but at the end of the day those emotions that don’t please you are still there, alive and thriving, pulsing at the core of the heart, growing stronger and stronger until the day that they are finally recognized, honored and processed.
For me, that is no way to live. I want all of it. I want the blissful happiness, and the joy and triumph, but I also want the edges, the pain, the tears, the fear of facing who I truly am and walking out the other side. This to me is authenticity. This is self love. And I will fearlessly stand beside anyone else lucky enough to be in my circle, because I’m not ignoring shit. ❤ ❤