Have you ever heard the phrase, "what you don't know can't hurt you"? Have you used it?! For my PJ Morton fans, if you've heard "Go Thru Your Phone", I know you've been vibing to these sentiments. Or to my old heads, you hear these sentiments in Mario Winans' I Don't Wanna Know". So many songs throughout the years have had this reoccurring theme that some things are better left unsaid. I can't forget about the phrase, "ignorance is bliss"! It's the same concept.
But have you really considered the meaning of these phrases? No? Well let's briefly define some words:
Ignorance - lack of knowledge or information
Bliss - perfect happiness, great joy
Having a lack of knowledge or information is perfect happiness/great joy.
We say this oftentimes to protect our feelings, maybe even our ego. We say this when we're trying to express that it's better to mind your business (and don't get me wrong, it is!!!!). But let's consider these sentiments in terms of mental and emotional health.
How detrimental is it to believe what you don't know about your mental health cannot hurt you? How harmful is it to believe there's great joy and happiness not exploring what generations before you have dealt with concerning mental and emotional health? This information can literally change the trajectory of not only your life, but those connected to you and future generations to come.
Oftentimes, in communities of color, this is a hard conversation to have. You feel the intensity in the room when asking about mental health. You see family members get defensive when you bring up telling a therapist your business. So to prevent the tension and maybe even backlash, it's better to look away, or brush it under the rug, right?! WRONG! As uncomfortable as these conversations may be, it's necessary. Help yourself by bringing clarity to your experiences. Allow yourself to experience peace, knowing that you are not "crazy" (discussion to follow on this term) or the only one with your experiences. More importantly, save a life, if not yours, those around you!
What you don't know CAN hurt you.