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 (also available for online consultation worldwide).  In addition to his general adult clientele Mr. Herring specializes in treating people struggling to maintain healthy sexual boundaries, including determining when sex addiction or porn addiction are contriuting factors to such difficulties.

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