Ep #223: When It’s Useful Not to Know

The Widowed Mom Podcast Krista St-Germain | When It’s Useful Not to Know

“I don’t know” is a phrase I’ve taught many widows to avoid using in their lives. 

While unhelpful in certain situations, some of you are using it as a weapon against yourself when, in reality, it’s meeting you exactly where you are.

To learn whether your “I don’t know” story is serving you or holding you back, tune in this week to hear why it’s sometimes useful not to know, and how to make peace with not knowing.


Listen to the Full Episode:


Mementos & Memories is a three-day online event that will help you deal with your person’s stuff, happening from September 18th to the 20th 2023. Whether your person died recently or it’s been years and there’s stuff you’re holding on to that you’re struggling with, join me. Click here to grab your free spot now.


If you want to create a future you can truly get excited about even after the loss of your spouse, I invite you to apply for Mom Goes On.


What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Instances in which the thought “I don’t know” is not in service of the life you want.
  • Why “I don’t know” can be a great thought to have.
  • How to make peace with not knowing what’s going to unfold next.


Featured on the Show:

  • Leave me a review in Apple Podcasts.
  • Interested in small-group coaching? Join us in Mom Goes On. Click here for details and next steps.
  • Join my free Facebook group, The Widowed Mom Podcast Community.
  • Follow me on Instagram!
  • If you are a Life Coach School certified coach, I’m working on an Advanced Certification in Grief and Post-Traumatic Growth Coaching just for you. If this sounds like something you would love, email us to let us know you want in on the interest list to be notified when it launches!
  • I send out several pick-me-up emails each week including announcements and details for free live coaching sessions. Enter your email in the pop-up on my home page to sign up.
  • The widows in my coaching program shared their advice and encouragement for new widows in this new book, Dear New Widow. Get your copy here!


Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, episode 223, When It’s Useful Not to Know.

Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, the only podcast that offers a proven process to help you work through your grief, to grow, evolve, and create a future you can truly look forward to. Here’s your host, Master Certified life coach, grief expert, widow, and mom, Krista St-Germain.

Hey there, welcome to another episode of the podcast. So I am recording this a little bit earlier. It’s 106 today and probably fall should be the last thing on my mind, but I’m so excited to decorate, it’s ridiculous. So hopefully this weekend it’s not going to be in the hundreds anymore. I can bust out the fall decorations. This last weekend it was 111 on Saturday. I had time, I held off but if you’ve listened to the podcast for a while, you know that I’m obsessed with fall. Fall is very fun to me. So I can’t wait to actually get out decorations and hopefully they won’t all melt because it won’t be in the hundreds by then.

But anyway, also Marissa is home, my eldest. Now she’s transferred, she’s doing her sophomore year here in Wichita. And so she’s home and she’s my decorating partner in crime. So, looking forward to doing that with her. And even though it is not quite fall as I record this, I want to make sure you know about the Mementos and Memories free online event that I am doing starting September 18th, 2023. If you’ve not already registered, I want you to go do that right now. Push pause on the podcast, go register, get that done. It will take literally two minutes. It is not a complicated registration process.

But if the idea of dealing with your person’s stuff feels at all uncomfortable for you, if you feel a little overwhelmed, if you feel a sense of dread when you think about it, if you start to worry about what other people will think. If you start to contemplate the regret that you might feel if you make decisions, when you think of whatever is left of your person’s stuff that you want to make decisions around. If you don’t feel good about it, go sign up for the Mementos and Memories challenge. It is three days, very easy to do.

I’m going to teach live for 30 minutes once each day for three days. It’s going to be completely recorded. There’s a worksheet for every day. Even if you don’t want to deal with your person’s stuff yet or you don’t want to take the next step yet, go ahead and sign up for the event because when you do you will be ready. When you do decide that you want to deal with their stuff, if you go through this event now, it will really help you. I don’t think dealing with our partner’s stuff has to be as hard as our brain wants to make it.

And I have some really tangible, practical ways to help you with that and it’s all in this online event. So coachingwithkrista.com/mementosandmemories. You can sign up there, coachingwithkrista.com/mementosandmemories. We start September 18th. So go sign up now. There’s a totally free version which includes all three days of teachings. There’s also a bonus extras VIP package that I put together for those of you who want a little more and the website explains all about it but go ahead and get yourself registered.

And listen, this is not a fun thing for anybody to do, so if you know another widow who would like some support in dealing with their person’s stuff, send this to them, let them in on it.

Okay, alright, let’s talk about the topic for today, when it’s useful not to know. I have talked a lot about the phrase, ‘I don’t know’ on this podcast and in my coaching programs. And sometimes, actually regularly women will come into a coaching session with me and they will say something like, “Oh I can’t say I don’t know.” Because I have taught you here and in Mom Goes On not to believe your brain when it says ‘I don’t know’, because that thought can create a lot of confusion and it can keep us really stuck, it can make us spin. It can prevent us from taking action.

It can be a really un-useful thought, ‘I don’t know’. But some of you are using this teaching in a way that’s actually not helpful. It’s actually being used almost as a weapon against yourself. And so I want to talk about when it’s useful to not know, because sometimes I think it is and sometimes I think it isn’t. It’s a little bit more nuanced. So if you are wanting to do something new and scary and your brain is telling you, I don’t know. If there’s a lot of options in front of you and your brain is offering, I don’t know.

If when you think I don’t know, you feel confused, you feel stuck, you’re inclined to hide, to go put away the issue and not think about it anymore. Then I don’t know is probably not in service of what you want to create. I don’t know in that moment is a sentence in your mind that is creating the emotion of confused, that is driving inaction or indecision or spinning. And that is probably not helping you take the action that you want to take. In fact, it’s probably blocking you from an action that you want to take.

So again, you are always the expert on you, always. You are the one who knows if something is serving you or not. So even as I give you these guidelines, I really always want you to come back to yourself because you are the authority on your life. But notice if the I don’t know story in your brain is useful to you or if it’s holding you back. Is it taking you toward what you want or is it moving you away from what you want? Because sometimes I feel like we’re sucking the magic out of life by insisting that we know things that we don’t need to know or couldn’t possibly know.

We’re human and we’re not really supposed to know everything, that’s not realistic. That’s not the way the human experience works. So sometimes, I don’t know, in my mind is actually a great thought to have. It’s almost more about the subtext of the thought, I don’t know… and I should. I don’t know… and it’s a problem. I don’t know… and I want to know. That’s problematic, versus I don’t know and that’s all okay because it’s unfolding as it will.

I don’t know what the future is going to bring exactly. And when I think about that I’m okay. I don’t feel confused. It doesn’t make me want to spin or stay stuck in inaction, it just leaves some room for magic. It leaves some room for an unfolding, which I think is actually an amazing part about being human. So do we need to know exactly what the future will hold? Do we need to know what’s in store for our kids’ lives or the details of our lives? Do we need to know exactly how other people are going to behave? Do we need to know exactly how we’re going to accomplish a goal? I don’t think we do.

And I think insisting that we do or wishing that we did, may not be useful. I’ll give you an example of this. As a widow, you for the whatever amount of time you spent with your person, your brain understands what it’s like to be in relationship with that person. Some of you listening have been with your person or were with your person for decades, for more of your life than without them, you were with them. So it stands to reason then, that now that they have died and here you are, you wouldn’t actually know what it feels like to be without them.

I mean, yeah, we can go back to a time when you did know, but in this chapter of life you don’t know what it’s like to be without them. You don’t know what it’s like to feel good necessarily without them. You don’t know a lot of things and that’s not a problem if you choose to believe that it isn’t a problem. If you choose to believe that this is the way of it, that, yes, you did know very intimately what life was like with them. Now you’re in a chapter without them, and it’s okay for you to not know exactly what that’s going to be like and figure it out as you go.

When you think about it in that way, I don’t know doesn’t keep you stuck, it just meets you where you are. It just allows for whatever comes next to unfold. And in a way it actually takes the pressure off because if you believe you don’t know and you should, then you put a lot of pressure on yourself, but you’re not psychic, how could you know? You can’t.

It’s like how did I create this business that I have? There’s no way for me to have known when I go back to the very beginning of my coaching business, there’s no way I could have ever known how I was going to create the business that I have. I had to actually do it. I had to actually start trying things and making mistakes and gathering new data and seeing what worked and what didn’t and what I liked and what lit me up and what people responded to. And then that’s how I built what I now have.

But I could have never known how I was going to do that until I did it. What if you gave yourself that same permission, to not know how it’s all going to go, your life, your kids’ lives, whatever comes next in the next chapter? And you made peace with that not knowing so that something could unfold in a way that leaves room for magic, in a way that takes away all of that unnecessary pressure. That’s what I’m talking about.

If your brain is telling you that you don’t know what to do next and when you think that, you feel terrible and you feel scared and you want to take no action because you’re feeling so awful. That’s not helping you. Let’s not do that to ourselves.  But make space for what is impossible for you to know, which is how it’s all going to go. Make space for an unfolding of what comes next. Let’s not make it harder on ourselves to evolve, let’s leave space for things to happen as they will and for life to unfold.

So notice, are you telling yourself, I don’t know and it’s moving you away from what you want or are you allowing yourself to not know in a way that moves you toward what you want? And I realize this is a little bit nuanced, maybe nuanced isn’t the right word. I realize it’s a little bit subjective, this is not something you solve with your head. This is something you let sit in your body and you notice, is it moving me toward the experience that I want or is it moving me away from the experience that I want?

And you get clear there and you use that as your guide as opposed to a generalized rule from me, which is thou shalt not ever say I don’t know. Because sometimes I don’t know is really in service of what we want and I always want you to do what’s in service of the life that you want, not weaponize anything I teach you.

Okay, that’s what I have for you this week. Go register for the Mementos and Memories online event if you haven’t yet, alright, coachingwithkrista.com/mementosandmemories. That’s what I have for you this week. I love you, you’ve got this. Take care and I’ll see you next week. Bye bye. 

If you like what you’ve been hearing on this podcast and want to create a future you can truly get excited about after the loss of your spouse, I invite you to join my Mom Goes On coaching program. It’s small group coaching just for widowed moms like you where I’ll help you figure out what’s holding you back and give you the tools and support you need so you can move forward with confidence.

Please don’t settle for a new normal that’s less than you deserve. Go to coachingwithkrista.com and click work with me for details and the next steps. I can’t wait to meet you.

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About your coach

I created a new life using small, manageable steps and techniques that made sense. The changes I experienced were so profound I became a Master Certified Life Coach and created a group coaching program for widows like us called Mom Goes On. It’s now my mission to show widowed moms exactly how to do what I’ve done and create a future they can look forward to.

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