Dealing with Confusion

You may be dealing with confusion around many things as basic as who you are, what you’re doing or why you’re doing it. The first thing to do to approach this situation is to get in touch with the fact that you’re confused. Just say it. “I’m confused.” If you can do that, then it can all end right there. Rather than spend weeks or months spinning around trying to figure something out or act like you know what you’re doing, just throw down the anchor and let her rip: “I’m confused.”

That should be really obvious, right? But it’s not, is it? Because no one wants to admit that they’re confused (or they made a mistake). So, in order to do this very simple, human thing, you might need some support. Tom Fuller, or some other therapist might need to be there and say, “Hey Joe, you seem confused. Can you feel that? Can you be with that for a minute?”
Since Tom or whomever, is saying this, and you trust him and you know he’s not trying to disrespect you, you stop and take a breath,and feel it: “Oh wow, man, yeah, I’m really confused!” (what a relief that is!)

At that moment, it’s so simple, and yet a lot is happening. You can stop, take a breath, and for that moment your demons aren’t chasing you: The demons of social acceptance. “If they think I’m confused than they won’t like me, or they’ll laugh at me or they’ll use it against me.” The demon’s of self-judgement: “I’m supposed to know what I’m doing, what I want, who I am!” And the fact is that a lot of the time these days, we don’t know. The truth is that we don’t know, and we think that it’s not okay not to know so we keep faking it to ourselves and everyone else. We get further and further from the truth and we get more and more lost.

So just admit: “I’m confused, I’m lost, I don’t know what I’m doing.” and immediately you’ve realigned with the truth and the ground is at your feet again. You’re still lost, or confused, but that’s workable. It’s all the other judgments that multiplies suffering on top of suffering.
If you’ve got a coach, or a therapist and you acknowledged to him or her and yourself that you’re confused then immediately there’s some energy there for you to work with. Now you may ask, “Okay, I’m confused – now what?”

Well, then you can look at the elements that make up your confusion. Ask yourself what are you confused about. You may be confused about whether you really like your job, or whether you really like your husband! Those are huge questions, of course, and many people are grappling with those huge questions, either consciously or unconsciously. There are many, many other smaller questions, like “Do I really need to keep smiling at my co-workers all the time when I’m not feeling happy?” or “Do I really have to get angry with my wife whenever she questions my judgment?” You see, these are what we commonly call unexamined assumptions about who we are and how we’re supposed to act. You might feel confused because you’re going around smiling all the time and there’s a part of you that doesn’t think any of it’s funny. The smiling guy doesn’t want you to know that, but it’s there not too far beneath the surface and it’s pulling energy. It might be threatening even to let yourself know that there’s that angry, resentful person under there, because your whole life you’ve gone around smiling because that’s the only way you thought you could be loved, or approved of, or even survive! So now your therapist is saying, “so Joe, what are you angry about?”

You’ve already admitted you’re confused. So since you get to look at it, you get to now see that beneath that smiling facade, there’s this guy who’s really pissed off and part of what he’s pissed off about is the fact that he’s got to go around smiling all the time!
So you confess that.
“I’m angry that I got to go around smiling all the time.”
And then you go on from there.

You’re breaking taboos here. You’re not supposed to admit your confusion or that you’re angry and now you’ve done it. You’ve done it in front of one person so it’s fairly safe, it’s in a controlled environment. You’re not telling your boss to go f— himself, you’re just acknowledging to yourself that things aren’t as great as you’ve been acting. That should be bad, but somehow it feels good. As I said earlier, you’re getting some ground under your feet and you’re speaking the truth-to yourself, where it’s the most important. Now that you’ve admitted to yourself that you’re not as happy as you’ve been acting, you may discover some other self inside who’s very happy about that fact. Whether that’s true or not, you have some choices about what to do with this new knowledge. If you’ve got someone else in your world that you can trust, go talk to them about it. If not, just hang out with that information for a week and see what it feels like: Watch your night dreams and your day dreams, pay attention to how you feel around people. Gather more information. Let things shift. Then come back in a week and carry on the conversation with your therapist.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 4th, 2011 at 12:55 pm and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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