Well, if someone says it’s perfectly alright to be confused and unsure about things at times; you’re going to get perplexed. Yet, that’s what I am trying to articulate here. 🙂
We have been often conditioned to believe that having questions without answers or confusion is a bad thing. But if you think about it, we all face some serious confusion at some point of life. It is good to have clarity, but sometimes we just don’t have it – and that’s absolutely alright! There is no need to panic and settle for an easy answer when your questions, doubts and confusion are probably suggesting you to do some serious soul searching to find where are they stemming from!
There are times in our lives when we are deciding about something non-trivial and in the process we explore not only the options/choices that exist in the outside world, but at the same time we are also exploring our own perspectives about those options; and sometimes we don’t fully understand all that is happening inside us during this process. It is usually a long & daunting process. There is so much at stake, and you know that your decision will have a long lasting impact on your life. Besides many such decisions are irreversible or involve too high a price to abandon half-way! It is so tempting at such times to settle for an ‘easy answer‘ that is often implied and accepted by convention, or culture, or peers, or anything else except your own heart!
That’s where I beg to differ – I don’t like settling for an easy answer. I’d rather stay with the question and related confusion for a longer period. I have some good company here. Bill Watterson mentions in his famous commencement address: the notion that not-knowing is not only a part of the journey, but an integral part! And J. Krishnamurti says:
“How anxious we are to find an answer to our problems! We are so eager to find an answer that we cannot study the problem; it prevents our silent observation of the problem. The problem is the important thing, and not the answer. If we look for an answer, we will find it; but the problem will persist, for the answer is irrelevant to the problem.”
It is better to stay with questions for a longer time and to have associated confusion as you explore your options before you decide something that might affect your life greatly. Those questions, doubts and confusion constitute your own, unique problem and it’s worth spending the required time in understanding that problem, which is often much longer than your comfort zone might allow you. But if you stay long enough with the problem and all the discomfort that it inevitably brings; let me tell you that this process will be equally rewarding. You will discover lot more about yourself and your own perceptions and how they change when you give them informed inputs and importantly, more time. This process of self-discovery that only such questions can trigger is immensely enlightening. These rewards are intangible and internal, but they are the most valuable rewards that you’d ever get.
So drop that exaggerated anxiety about questions and confusion. It’s often our need for quick answers that prevents proper understanding of the problem. The clarity may eventually emerge, but you must give it the time it requires. Pardon me for repeating myself, but the required time is often much longer than what our conditioning or comfort zone allows us, but it’s worth spending all that time. It’s great to take time off to figure out what you’d like to do next. It’s fine to take longer to know if the relationship would indeed work out for you or not. It’s good to spend time exploring alternative before deciding what career or courses you’d like to take up. It’s useful to spend enough time before you decide to give up your career for a relationship or vice-versa. When the problems are non-trivial and your decision could alter your life, it is imperative to spend all that required time to evaluate all those available options and see what permutation-combination works best for you, given your preferences and perspectives. And if available options don’t really offer the solution that you seek (maybe that’s the reason why your confusion is so grave), it becomes all the more important that you understand the problem well enough and see if you can do things differently to innovate a solution that doesn’t already exist. If not, see if you can adapt something already available to suit your needs. If the confusion is serious enough, probably the problem is unique to you so you need to understand it well enough to emerge with a unique solution (not an ‘easy answer‘) that makes you happy! And while you’re going through this process, please don’t detest the confusion that is inevitable in the process, it will give you some invaluable insights! Yes, meanwhile you may enjoy the process. 🙂
Image Courtsey: Total Confusion by Tamra Pfeifle Davisson from Fine Art America.