Welcome to the age of not knowing.
We say we are confused, that we don’t know what we want in our professional life, we don’t know what we want in terms of romantic relationships, and that we have no clear visions or dreams to work towards.
A male acquaintance of mine has on his Tinder description “I don’t want a girl who wants a guy who knows what he wants in life,” so high is the pressure to have it all figured out.
Possibilities are indeed infinite. In a culture where everything is disposable and short-term, our willingness to commit isn’t exactly at its peak.
We could just leave it at that. But we could also ask ourselves: what is this so-called confusion?
What Is Confusion?
The thing is, I truly believe we all know what we want.
Whatever you want is already there, inside of you.
The thing is, you either cannot see it, or, you don’t want to see it.
In other words, confusion is more like a side effect. The remedy is to go to the sources of the issue: 1) lack of self-connection, and 2) self-acceptance.
Lack of Self-Connection
We are too busy, forever rushing, and caught up in external demands and social expectations. A 10-minute break between appointments equals reaching out to the phone.
Because our attention is so easily given away, and we are never at ease with ourselves, we become connected to everything and everyone else — but not to ourselves. Thus, confusion emerges.
The opposite of confusion is clarity. To be crystal clear. The common metaphor used for this is the ability to see an image reflecting on the still water of a lake.
Say there’s a house just in front o the lake. If the water is still, you can see the house structure in full detail, you understand its proportions, how it looks like, and where its windows and door are. Now, the more disturbance there is in the water, the less of the house you get to see — if there’s a tempest, chances are you miss the house completely.
The lake is your mind.
The bigger your inability to stay still, the less you can see through yourself. Stillness is not about sleeping or sitting on the couch numbed, there but not really there. It is the ability to still your mind, in full awareness, not constantly thinking, reacting, planning, and looking for things to solve and be entertained by.
You can be walking on the street or grocery shopping and be still. If your mind is not consumed with ongoing thoughts out of your control, you have a chance to observe yourself, instead of allowing your mind and habit patterns to run the show. In this sense, stillness doesn’t mean emptiness, but self-observing — not to be mistaken by self-consciousness, for observing happens with neutrality, with no judgment.
You are so much more than your mind, therefore, to see through yourself, it helps greatly to have a certain degree of self-mastery. For this, meditation is a great friend.
This means becoming the witness of yourself, observing your behaviors, and getting to know more yourself through what you see outwards, for your relationships and your reality are mirrors and projections of who you are — and where you stand in life. Also, journaling, contemplating, and developing concentration skills are helpful.
Lack of Self-Acceptance
When it comes to the second issue of why we are confused, it thus happens that we know what we want — we simply won’t admit it.
Here is the thing: we are afraid of what we want. We are ashamed and self-conscious about what we want.
What do I mean by that? Well…
We resist the great amount of work and discipline that getting what we want entails, we are afraid of the responsibility and commitment, we are afraid of failing, we don’t think we are good enough or worthy of it, we don’t want to deal with the repercussions of our desires, we believe we are not qualified or too old, we think what we want is wrong, we think people will judge us or laugh at us and our dreams, we are afraid of the life changes that what we want would entail in our safe life, etc, etc, etc.
Every action has a reaction, and we are either avoiding taking action or avoiding certain reactions that we deem plausible.
The thing is, once we know what you want, “all” that is left is to act on it and make it happen. That means facing all the issues mentioned above. So, it is easier to say “I don’t know” and leave it at that.
Clarity Is but the First Step
After we are clear, we still have to make decisions, commit, organize ourselves, have the courage and strength to make it happen, take action, keep focus and deal with all possible repercussions of our decisions.
Confusion is the cloak that protects us from having to do all these things.
In other words, confusion is a protection cloak we use to hide, to not admit to ourselves where we stand with ourselves. Confusion stands exactly where we are refusing to embrace our potential, keeping us exactly where we are.
It is painful for any of us to look at these aspects we are afraid of and ashamed of. Yet, it is the strength of doing so that allows us to grow and be who we want to be.
We all have so much potential. Confusion makes sure it stays at that: unrealized potential. In confusion, we accept daydreaming instead of making it real. Unfortunately, confusion also keeps us frustrated in life.
Clarity is a marriage of self-connection and self-acceptance.
Both these things take a lot of work. If they didn’t, we would all be crystal clear by now, but hear me out: all you want is already inside of you. All it takes for the longings of your heart to exist is for you to be alive.
What you want, your dreams, your purpose, these are not floating around in the sky. These are all inside of you, right now. Your inner life is so rich already — it only happens to be under a fine cloak that needs to be removed.
The only one who can remove the cloak is you.
And so, I ask you: are you ready to see and embrace yourself, and what you want?
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9 Reasons Why You Don’t Know What You Want – and How to Know What You Want