Can confusion be comforting?
For too long, I didn’t have the language to understand how I felt. I knew I never felt happy, but there wasn’t much of a stretch between sad, angry and stressed either. When you’re left without answers, it can be so overwhelming and confusing. I once got a fortune cookie that said the following:
Out of confusion, comes new patterns.
So much of my confusion is understanding more about myself and the world, which inherently includes the stuff I’ll never know. Introspective reflection combined with the courage to get it right, instead of being right will allow you to question everything you knew and know. While this may lead to an identity reexamination, and an unstable relationship with authenticity, it allows you to feel confusion.
I’ve been confused about if a literal god exists, why nothing rhymes with orange, why fingernails have to grow, and why Doritos are so addicting.
Confusion allows our imaginations to question everything we know and don’t know. Embracing what we know and don’t know is the most human thing we can do. That’s wisdom.
Confusion is uncertainty. A innate human response to uncertainty is anxiety. Anxiety causes physical stress, which is a harmful emotion to our physical well-being, heart and digestive system. Heavy quickly beating heart, matched with shortness of breath, and a tightening of our chest that can induce shaking or fidgeting to physically distract ourselves from the discomfort. We physically and mentally feel the stress of the unknown.
Confusion also invites you to practice other emotions and experiences to ground your thoughts and imagination, such as excitement, awe, wonder, gratitude, tranquility and contentment. Often times, it leads me to more negative emotions like boredom, resentment, guilt, and grief.
When it feels like everything is constantly changing, making you question what you know and don’t know, instead of riding the shitstorm of uncertainty you can ask yourself the following:
- Will this matter in 5 minutes? 5 hours? 5 days? 5 weeks? 5 months? (And if it does, it’s up to you to determine what action you need to take.)
- What is making me confused? When did it happen? How did it happen? How does it show what I value and what I can let go?
If you are left more confused, and the uncertainty isn’t comforting, understand this cognitive dissonance you are practicing is one of the many paradoxes we can find in the patterns of life.
It’s impossible to have everything figure out, no matter how hard we try or how good we are at it. In a culture that promotes productivity propaganda, the true grind is just feeling our emotions. It’s ok to feel confused because that means you’re doing it right — You’re really feeling them emotions, so sit with it, and analyze what surfaces with compassion. It ends with a choice and what happens next is change, whether we’re prepared for it or not.
It is what it is and it’s not what it’s not.
What’s something you’re confused about?