Okay. I get it. You looked at the title and started thinking “I’m pretty sure I know what three words she means.”
Am I right?
And let me take a wild guess at your top choices . . .
“I love you.”
“I am sorry.”
“I am here.”
Maybe, if you’ve seen my TED talk, you would say:
“I see you.”
My friends, those are all great, awesome guesses. And, of course, all those phrases are wise. Wonderful. And . . . wrong.
Here’s the three words I’d like you to consider. They are words that even the Dalai Lama uttered, through an interpreter, many times when a bunch of thought leaders got together to ask him the ways of the world.
The phrase that pays?
“I don’t know.”
Wow. Yeah. Even the Dalai Lama can admit it. Why can’t we?
When our family member asks us a tough question. When a patient receives a crappy diagnosis. When the world seems like it’s going to hell in a hand basket and someone asks us to make sense of it.
It’s okay to say it. Maybe, right now, as you’re reading this, you could just mouth the words and whisper them . . .
“I don’t know.”
Why is that admission so powerful?
Because it makes you human. Vulnerable. Honest.
Whether you’re telling your young child that you don’t know why they can only have three strikes instead of four in their little league game. Or you’re tackling the harder stuff, like being asked by your patient’s mother why their daughter couldn’t be saved after a tragic accident.
When you let the air out of your ego and out of your expectations, you realize that we are all truly together in this world. And that, quite simply, brings us closer.
I don’t know.
If you’ve ever had to utter this phrase and realize it’s power, please share below. Connection matters.