Confusion Equals Progress

Recently I thought I heard someone say these words: "confusion is progress."

Maybe that's not, in fact, what the person actually said, but that's what the words sounded like to me. As I pondered these words I became more confused about what they meant, so I spent a few moments in a state of reflection while smiling that I found myself confused about a statement about confusion!

That's when I realized the sentence is really very true. The very state of being confused motivated me to seek clarification for something that I didn't understand. This created a space inside myselt that was available to any wisdom and guidance I might gain in my period of brief introspection. Confusion implies a willingness to learn, which is a good thing.  

Then I realized there was even more to the sentence than that. Confusion also means that I am willing to shake off my hardened beliefs that are capable of weighing me down like a heavy load of concrete. If I am certain about what I know, I can't be shaken from my conviction (unless I discover later that I was wrong). But confusion brings some softness, some lightness, some fluidity to my way of perceiving what I think I know. Confusion mkes me teachable, and that's a mighty good thing. A little well-placed confusion makes me adaptable while a sense of certainty causes me to remain immovable.

So to move from "this is what I know" to "I thought I knew all about this but now I'm maybe not so sure" can lead to growth and insight.  All I need to do is allow confusion to take its rightful place at the table rather than chasing it off like an unwelcome pest.

Is this a little confusing? Good!


Bill Heriring maintains a private psycotherapy practice in Atlanta. Mr. Herring specializes in treating people struggling to maintain healthy sexual boundaries, including determining when sex addiction or porn addiction are evident.

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