Monday, October 25, 2010

Maybe Better, But Definitely Not Best

"Better the devil you know than the devil you don't," or so the saying goes. Basically, it means that you are better off dealing with the people or situations that you are familiar with, no matter how bad, because it's probably better than the unknown ... which is probably worse.

Assuming that the devil you know is better than the devil you don't makes a dangerous assumption. It assumes that the alternative, the unknown, would be worst.

The devil you know is what...
  • Keeps people stagnant in go-nowhwere jobs.
  • Makes women (or men) stay in an abusive or otherwise unsatisfying relationship.
  • Stops someone from breaking out of a limiting circle of negative and destructive friends.
You know him. You accept him. When he knocks at your door, you always let him in. He might frustrate you. He might disappoint you. He might ridicule and demean you. He might even hurt you, but you choose him. As bad as he is, you know him.

And he knows you.

He knows that you are scared to take a risk. He knows how humiliated you would be if you took a chance and failed. He knows how awkward it feels to move outside your comfort zone. He uses those fears and apprehensions to keep you firmly at his side. He know you won't leave.

There is an element of truth to what he says. It's possible that the Devil You Don't Know will actually be worse. It might lead to even more hurt or humiliation.

"Maybe he's right," you say to yourself.

But there is a strong possibility that he's wrong. The Devil You Don't Know might not be a Devil at all. You might find that stretching beyond your comfort zone could be the best thing for you. You could realize that you didn't fall when you took that step out into the dark unknown. Surprisingly, there was a hand there to guide you or an unexpected light to illuminate your path.

There's only one way to find out...

3 comments:

BLUEBUTTERFLY said...

Really good food for thought. Too many people fear uncertainty and the unknown.

Lose the Excuses said...

And the sad thing is that they make the assumption that the unknown is worse than whatever it is they are going through and often it isn't!

Kim Crouch said...

So True! At times, the Devil you know is much more comfortable for you but I've have found that my greatest character building moments have come from the Devil I don't know and being willing to take them head on.