What Does Your Deeper Self Desire That You Are Denying?

For years my bones have been aching to create gatherings for women to be safe, supportive and in partnership. I had no idea how or what it would look like. Then a few months ago, I was asked to speak in Los Angeles for a women’s group called Tribal Truth.

I’m not one to join groups so easily but when I stepped into this circle of collaboration every cell in my body said YES – I knew it was home for me. My deeper self pulled me to ask to be the LA tribe leader and I just took action and now I am the LA Tribe leader.

Listening to that voice inside you opens magical doors of opportunity.

This past weekend I helped launch Tribal Truth in New York City. We had over 50 women come to connect to this new paradigm for women to work together and find their place in the world.

Our goal was to have 75 women there.  We knew we weren’t going to get the turn-out we’d hoped for – but instead of hanging out saying, “We don’t know how it’s going to happen,” we took action as a team.  We focused on creating, giving and making space to birth this event.

Saying “I don’t know” can put the breaks on your soul’s desire.

A week before the event, I was talking with one of the women in my Inner Circle Virtual Mastery program. She shared her biggest frustrations in her life and we discussed what the best strategy to design her life to fulfill her heart looks like. It was deep, revealing, and at moments painful because she knows what she has to do.

To help her uncover her answers, I asked her some questions.  She was really clear on the answers on so many levels. And she also was not on others.  But when I asked her one question and she answered, “I don’t know,”  I responded as I do when I hear this statement with, “You do know”.

Then there was a sea of quiet that came over the phone.

I waited patentiently for her to respond.

She said softly, “I’m afraid to know”.

She was so real, raw and uncensored.  I’ve never in my life had anyone admit this to me. She stood in her truth, emotionally naked. It was a paradigm shifter for us both.  The veil was lifted and I was able to admit that I too at was, at times, afraid to know.

“I don’t know” – The Big Three, as I like to call them, who do their utmost to keep us from our most powerful selves.

This statement takes your power away like kryptonite does to Superman. It takes you out of the driver seat and keeps you in a painful place of wanting someone to figure it out for you. It’s not a safe place to be and you feel disconnected to source.

When we say The Big Three we are cutting ourselves off from what our deeper selves wisdom.

When we are asked what we want in life, what our dreams are, what we want to be when we grow up or what’s the best choice we need to make, we tend to say The Big Three – “I don’t know”. But what we really mean is “I’m afraid to know”.

As the Buddhist First Noble Truth states, “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional, we are given a choice to take on what we feel we know and then not suffer what may come from it.” So by owning that we are afraid to know and continuing to move forward mindfully we avoid denying our deeper self from coming out to play.

I believe there is no failing and that we are destined for success, even it if does not look like that while it is happening.

What we suffer from is not wanting to hurt others, fear of outshining others, wanting to make others happy, not doing something because we care more about what others may think, getting it right, or risking looking like a fool.

What if you could not fail and there was no wrong or right?

What does your deeper self know that you are afraid to admit? What if you voiced what it is that you do know you want and could not be laughed at, yelled at, or hit? What if you did know in your heart, but your ego was just trying to protect you from a fear that’s not real?

For the most part the questions we’re met with are not a life or death situation. And if they are, when you get really quiet and honest with yourself you do know, but only realize you are afraid to do what will take you out of being comfortable.

It was such a courageous statement when my client said that she was afraid of knowing. It was a gift she gave to me and to you. She knows that it is not going to be easy for her so she reached out for help. That is way cool in my book.

So many of us feel we have to do it ourselves and rely on not doing it by saying The Big Three — “I don’t know”. I know I did.

A few months ago I said to one my mentors, Marie Forleo, that I didn’t know.  She responded that it’s an excuse to not do what I really want to do and avoid doing it wrong.  She was right.  I did know, but just wanted to have it be perfect.  It’s human and we must overcome this to be free.

Now whenever I find myself saying, “I don’t know” with my friends, they do for me what I do for them and say – “Hillary, you do know”. And now I know I can be real thanks to my client and say, I am afraid to know.

Try this next time you catch yourself saying The Big 3 – “I don’t know”.  You can use these steps to get you out of this painful hole.

  • You may not know sometimes, but your body knows it just has not been able to sync up with your mind. The first thing you need to do when you catch yourself saying “I don’t know” is stop it and turn it around and say “I do know.”
  • You can also get up and move your body, shake your hips, shoulders and put your hands on your belly and take 5 deep breaths. Connect to your core.
  • You can also sit, get quiet, take a few breaths then ask out loud, “what am I afraid of?” You will get a feeling, a word will come up or an image. If nothing, then ask again and see what is revealed.

What are you saying “you don’t know” to that YOU really do know?  Claim your truth here so we can support you. For bonus points share one baby step you will take to move towards what you want to create in your life.

The first 5 to comment will get my help on what the next step would be to move you from know knowing to getting closer to what you desire.

Related Posts:


  1. I keep walking around saying that I “don’t know” why I’m stuck living in Philadelphia and continuing on with grad school when these contexts seem to have nothing to do with what I actually want to be doing right now. I “know” the reasons I’m staying stuck, but I “don’t know” how to accept these reasons and move on with my plans here given that it’s where I need to be for now.

    And yet, I know my own attitude is going to lead me astray – and that using works like “stuck” are going to leave me feeling stuck.

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      I hear you Erin I have been there doing what I thought was right and then wanted to get out. First step which you did is awareness. You now get to choose from that deeper part of yourself the next step you can to move forward. You are not stuck? If you choose not to continue with Grad School who will be upset — YOU? Where would you want to live? Is there anyone who would think you are crazy to move? The reason to move on or make a new choice is to honor your heart and deeper desires. It takes courage and doing it even if you are afraid. Does that make sense? Let me know one thing you can do to move forward? I suggest you step back and appreciate all you created and own it love.

  2. Christine Hanson says:

    I often use “the big 3” when asked to consider expanding my aahsome fudge business. It usually means pursuing a new marketing strategy for a new type of product. I am usually unsure that I can make the commitment to deliver. I know I can, but still ………….. Thanks, Hillary, for pointing out that we need to face the fears head-on and take the risk.

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Christine you make fudge — yumm! Keep taking the steps in the face of fear knowing that you cannot do it wrong love. You are so welcome! 🙂

  3. Hilary, what a wonderful article. And I love Tribal Truth – shout out to Tanya the founder!!! Love the whole piece about not knowing and the layers within that. Not knowing in your head is very different than not knowing in your body. After zillions of years of meditation and exploration (9 years of which was in Thailand, where I got to understand Buddhism on a very deep level) I’ve come to learn that on some level I do always ‘know’ in the sense of who to be in that moment, and I ‘know’ in my gut what I need to do if I listen, and yet you bring up a very good point that sometimes it can feel scary to acknowledge that we ‘know’ because it triggers old patterns and fears.

    But I do want also to point out the great thing about not knowing. Because you can never ‘know’ exactly the outcome or what it will lead to. And you may not ‘know’ what the situation you are in really means right now, and that’s OK. So I guess what I’m saying is that there’s lots of different aspects of knowing and not knowing and the most important thing is not to beat yourself up! And take enough time to breathe and be so you can sink into the deeper knowing that lies beneath and be OK with not knowing on some levels too. For me, the deepest breakthroughs have happened when I’ve surrendered to one level of not knowing to then sink into a deep level of knowing on another level. Clear as mud?

    One thing I know right now is that I’m beginning to ramble and that my coffee sure tastes good.!

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Rachel — Thanks! Yes we do always know and of course there are many things we don’t know which is why we say The Big Three. Dancing in the unknown and feeling ourselves into life instead of disconnecting to thinking all the time is a play of consciousness. Love the clear as mud saying that made me laugh. We all know one day we will leave our body but we don’t know when that is why so many of us turn to tarot card readings, psychics and the rest of them. If we did know the date we expired so to speak how would we live our lives? Thoughts?

  4. Wow.. Hillary, I woke up this morning feeling lost and wondering what happened. Where was the drive I had? Why was I not fulfilling my dream? It hit me and I felt that the clarity I had just disintegrated into thin air and I asked myself what do I want for myself and the the Big Three floated up to the top of my mind. I felt numb for a second, I felt this can’t be right… so I decided to mosey on over to my email for a sign of some sort and BAM! Your email stood out to me, and girlfriend it has been a while since I have visited your site and read some of the marvelous things you have to share. I needed this today and I realized that I am afraid to know… but I do know that I must take action and go with the flow because as far as I do know, there are no guarantees and if god gave me wings I better fly. And when I decide to fly, I will soar. Light and love my sister. Namaste.

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Wow is right Leticia! Thanks for stopping by again it’s great to have you here. You will soar love and love to hear what you are going to do to move forward and know in your heart that you are following your souls calling sister. Namaste back atcha.

  5. WOW!
    Your viewpoint on “THE BIG THREE” viewpoint helps to make what seems so complex,insurmountable and overwhelming, such as “knowing”, more approachable.

    These are words not just to hang on to, but to live and breathe and make part of my daily diet.

    Thank you and your client!

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Marie you are so welcome. Glad it helps. Yes it is pretty simple when we put some light on it. Enjoy knowing and feeling into this. 🙂

  6. Thanks, hillary! Working through ‘i dont know” is a great plan. I really like the thought about asking what it is we are afraid of because that is also something we try not to think about
    I think that my procrastination goes along with “i dont know.”
    I am going to write down a few things I want to accomplish and haven’t. Then, I will write down what I am afraid of. Then, the worst that can happen.
    Lastly, I will try to write a plan of action for acconplishment.
    Because you are right – I do know!!!

  7. this is such a great piece. i am at the jumping off place now. i am done with keeping my thoughts, ideas and desires in a neat little “god box” behind me (i literally have my god box sitting on my file cabinet behind me). while i “get” the concept of a god box…vision board and other similar things, i can see how the very act of storing away my desires actually justifies my very feeble attempts to create the life that i desire and deserve. i believe in the art of allowing, but i am just ready to CLAIM my space. i am here because i chose to be. and i can choose to move forward right now. however uncomfortable i may feel in the process.

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Thanks Alison! Claim it baby, claim it. I support every step you take and enjoy being a bit uncomfortable. Jump off into the unknown with your deeper self that knows so much more. xo

  8. mercury in retrograde is killing me right now. i updated my site with the real URL. lol.

  9. Grace Quantock says:

    This is amazing and so deeply true. Right now the current (don’t) DO know I am working with is balancing running my business with managing my health conditions and healing. Overcoming the limitations and turning them into strengths. I am connecting to my core and working on it. Thank you and wishing you sunshine filled days, Grace xx

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      You are welcome. Keep listening Grace to your body it knows all… it knows before your brain does. Your limitations are strenghts and you get to CLAIM that right now and move from there everyday. xo

  10. Wow, this is so real. I often say “I don’t know” and it’s really “I’m afraid to know” because the passion to do it is too real. And I’m afraid of my own success. (much bigger than what it is right now) I feel like I’ll have to give something up or change some things to do it.

    And change can be scary.

    Great, great insight. Thanks for sharing!

  11. thank you hillary! you are right, and i’m affraid to know,.i realise it. i do have dreams and goals in my life and somehow i make up all kinds of excuses so i dont have to deal with them. and tell myself that i’ll will someday soon…

  12. Love this, Hillary. It’s so true that deep down, you always know. It’s just that sometimes, it’s terrifying.

    So great to see the smiling faces of several RHH Live ladies in the same photo. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Awesome Amanda! It is terrifying and at the same time it is totally made up which is even more difficult. Glad you could see the ladies and you gotta get yourself to the next event in May. xo

  13. Wow! I also am afraid to know – at least to know all of it. Thanks for the article and all the wonderful work you do with me.

  14. Thank you for a great post. This is definitely something I need to take a look at in myself. I spend way to much time saying “I don’t know” because I am afraid of what may come if I acknowledge what I really do know in my core.

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      You are welcome Sarah! Glad you can see the light here and shift to listen to your deeper self. Keep me posted on how it goes. 🙂

  15. Hi Hillary!

    Thank you for this post. Like many of the other posters, this sits deeply with me. The “I don’t know” story has been my story for the past 3 years. I now see that behind those three little words was FEAR – fear of failure, fear of not being good enough, fear of embarassment… My partner in I were in a discussion recently, and I suddenly became very upset. I wasn’t going to say anything about it because I didn’t realize I was THAT upset. I knew I just felt dissapointed and angry, but didn’t know what triggered it. But, he felt something was off and asked if I was upset.

    I paused for a moment and said, “Yes, I am.” Of course, he said, “Why?” At which point, I said, “I don’t know.”

    He responded to me recently with a “you do know,” and it through me off guard. I said, “No, I really don’t. Sometimes I just feel an emotion and I’m not sure why.” I can see now that I was just really disconnected from my self at the moment. I started thinking out loud and realized I was upset because we hadn’t gotten to spend any quality time together, and I was feeling really disconnected from him. Isn’t it about feeling a lack of love 90 percent of the time?

    How do you think women’s intution place into this whole knowing v. not knowing thing? Do you ever feel emotions before having thoughts?

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      You are so welcome Ashley! Good that you saw it was your story for 3 years that is a long time to be in this place. What a great partner who is helping you to be the best you can be. What a blessing. My place with intuition is that is it really big. We put a veil up for survival and loose connection so we don’t trust and say we don’t know. Feelings come first and the mind is the last to know. When we are disconnected we think that we think before we feel because we are numbed. Does that make sense?

  16. Hi I got a tweet from you with this site. WOW! I like the vibe I get here. I know you would like my website as well. There is a particular story Dig it In that I would love to get your feedback on. This is great. Hopefully, I’m following in your footsteps.

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Hey Nicole! Glad you enjoy the vibe here. I love your post and know that we are walking shoulder to shoulder lady. Keep up the good work and know you have a new friend over here. xo

  17. Christina says:

    Getting past the Big Three and facing my fears led me to do something very difficult yesterday, but necessary. I blogged all about it in Inner Circle. What’s helping me get through this is the knowledge that I was strong enough to face this challenge and the hope of the benefit this will bring to me. Thank you.

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Awesome action Christina! I will check the Inner Circle Mastery group to see what you overcame. Courageous my love and worth it I hope. It is so cool to see how you can free yourself and gain the results of experience. You are welcome. xo

  18. I got diagnosed with MS a month ago, and before this I used to be so full of life. I knew what I wanted but there would always be something holding me back. I went through a lot of emotional trauma as a kid and became clinically depressed last yr of august and it lasted till this yr of march. I got a blur in right eye a few months ago and they did and MRI and said it was MS. I was devastated and still am. However I do know that an attitude of gratitude is what you need in life because it could always be worse. But how do I cope with/fight something incurable?

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Hey Sara! I totally understand where you are at this is not fun one bit. I suggest you release the need to fight this disease and find how it is showing you another road to take. I call it a Course Changer. When I was diagnosed I felt the same and today I don’t so it is more than just an attitude of gratitude. Let yourself release emotions and here you don’t know what will happen but you do know on a deeper level that you want to live a life you love. How does that feel?

      • I totally want to live a life of love, Ive always loved to laugh and I always wanted to enjoy life to the fullest, but then I think, I have a disease that could potentially take away my eyesight, my use of my limbs etc, how can I live the life I want now . . .

  19. Hillary, this message is incredibly powerful! There are definitely times when I am afraid to know and I will certainly think more about my answer when I am inclined to say these 3 words.

    But I have to tell you that I do find myself saying to my children, “It’s okay when you don’t know the answer to something. And I truly believe that it is okay to give yourself the gift of not knowing as long as you are open to finding out what the answer is and leaving it up to the universe to show you the way.

    Sometimes you just don’t know RIGHT NOW. So, I am not sure if it is that we are always afraid of knowing, sometimes, we just don’t know the answers at this time and I like your suggestions to check in with your body and tap into your core, but do you think there are times when we truly need to wait it out in order to get to the answers? I do.

    Now, having said that… I truly love this post and your message is so inspiring and profound, so I want to thank you for that 🙂 You are so brilliant! xo

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Thanks Britt! Yes I agree that we can be ok with not knowing but what if we did know then what would we answer — you can try this one with your kids and see it as a game. If it is information for a math exam then we may not know but maybe we do know. I like I don’t know RIGHT NOW and if we get quiet what comes up? I find many of us say we don’t know out of looking like a fool — and we may not know but know where to ask or look it up like a doctor or lawyer. Love the dialogue you are brilliant too! xo

  20. Thank you, again, for sharing this amazing post!

    When I think about my life now, it´s funny what I´m saying “I don´t know” to – and to what I don´t. Big changes are coming. I love my my life as a single-mum and when people ask how I´m coping I say “just fine”(and mean it!). When people ask how I´ll manage financially I say “we´ll work it out, somehow” (and mean it!). Where moving to another city, and we´ll probably be homeless for five days, (I can´t afford to pay rent to two places). People are chocked; what are you going to do?! I say “we´ll live with some friends, we´ll manage somehow (and mean it!). When people ask how I´m coping with my anorexia I say ” I don´t know”

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Fia thanks for being so open and honest. You will not be homeless as you will have support from your friends. About the Anexoria — note it is not your’s and you can embrace it
      and see how you can release the need to cope and find the gift in it. OK?

  21. I don’t know ,about my future. I’m scared to move forward ,being alone or being de-moralized again.
    Everyday i wake up and pray,Thank you God for helping him leave me. I am no longer abused , belittled or living in fear. It was the fear of being alone and believeing no one will love me ,that’s why i stayed and thought he would change especially after every plead of forgiveness. He wanted me because i was Strong, Beautiful ,Confident ,Independent, Loving & optmistic (every thing he wasn’t and wanted to break in me ). I showed him he could have a life of Love and grace. I realized now that I AM those things still, That I may have to take baby steps to find my faith in myself again, but it’s worth it ,I’M WORTH IT!!! My brother Matt came to me and said,”Tracy you were the strongest woman i have ever known ,don’t let him shake your faith in yourself . That man even shook your faith in God!”…. He was right!!! As i prayed everyday for God to help me be a better person for a man who loved to hurt me, i felt God wasn’t listening. Is there a God? If so why is he letting me fell so much pain? God was listening , he was over come by prayers, The prayers from my family and friends who begged God to help me and save me from this monster.I will continue to take baby steps. I may not know what my future holds for me, but i do know ,I will never let another person hurt me again… Watch out world, I’m coming back and thanks to GOD, even BETTER

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Tracy thanks for being so courageous. The world is ready for you and the universe is supporting you as I am. Go for it lady! 🙂

  22. Hi Hillary,
    You are just the breath of fresh air I needed today. My mind is cluttered with thoughts of the unknown of what I am trying to do. I change from one day to the next. Just keep going and doing and some how I will figure it out is what I think.
    I believe in the Law of Attraction motto “You don’t have to know how or what you are going to do just know that you are going to do it.”

    However, my mind is still cloudy. I do not know if it is because I am afraid, or confused or lack knowledge and experience.

    Your article is great – thanks and blessings for it. Ginny thepennyfriends.com

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Hey Virgina. Thank you happy to be that for you. I understand the cluttered mind and where it comes from is personal that’s for sure. Take time to get quiet and see what comes up. 🙂

  23. Hi Hillary,
    great site!
    I got the link to this post from Djanira Cortesao as a reply to a post I wrote about “I don’t know”…
    I think it’s great how sometimes great minds might not think alike and yet both our visions use this sentence as a way to open the door to new discoveries.
    I’ll continue following your blog

  24. Melinda Buss says:

    When you DO KNOW, how do you move toward it when there are children to consider? They’re not young, one is even off and married, another at college and one in high school…but I still worry that doing what my soul demands will hurt them and alienate them from me 🙁 FEAR is my biggest enemy! A friend helped me think about it like this though, “Do you like haunted houses?” I said yes. Well that’s all about fear! Every corner reveals something scary, but you have to keep going or you just stand there being scared!! Thanks for talking about these things!

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Melinda, it’s personal. You just know. You gave to get honest with yourself and feel the fear. Love what your friend shar3d that was a perfect way to look at it.

  25. Hi Hillary

    Thanks for creating this place for a resource. I find that when I start thinking or looking “within”, I may have an idea of what I should do. Then soon after, I start second-guessing myself. This is never-ending. The fear of living rules my life at the moment.

    Thanks again, Kristin


  1. […] you want to get honest with yourself. Instead of saying I don’t know, check in and see if you have lived up to your side of the deal. Did they live up to their contract […]

Speak Your Mind