The first thing people often say to me when we begin a session is, “I’m confused.” They then may proceed, with razor-sharp clarity, to articulate their feelings, thoughts, and circumstances. With great sophistication and ability to connect cause and effect they will outline their own problematic patterns of behavior, why they are concerned about a relationship, or what decisions they believe they should make. After these impressive and startlingly astute perceptions so many people will then slump in their seat, defeated, and say, “But I’m so confused.” Confusion becomes the self-constructed yet hollow wall that prevents them from moving forward.
Quite often confusion isn’t the problem. We know the right thing to do far more frequently than we let on. We underestimate our ability to properly evaluate what is functional and healthy in our own lives. What we hide from others, and even ourselves, is all of the reasons why we choose to remain unhealthy and unhappy.
We aren’t confused about anything, we are simply afraid of the implications of our conclusion. Conclusions can propel us into action, and nothing scares us more than change, fear of the unknown, and potentially making the wrong decision. As the old saying goes, we tend to choose the devil we know over a future that cannot be assured.
Fear is the true barrier to overcome. By feigning confusion (and we often don’t even realize we’re doing it) we focus on the wrong problem to solve and in doing so not only delude ourselves but spin our wheels in the mud of anxiety and inaction.
This isn’t to say that sometimes we aren’t genuinely confused, and need help putting all of the pieces together in a way that makes sense. But once we’ve reached that comprehension, and we often arrive at it far more quickly than we anticipated, we need to move past it and focus our energy on tackling the true problem of fear instead.