We all go through stages where we are confused and desire clarity. Periods of confusion usually happen when we enter into a new arena or “level” of life that we previously have not experienced. Everything feels new and foreign, and we feel lost and uncertain.
Many of the ways we use to cope with confusion — ignoring it, obsessing over it, getting down on ourselves about it — aren’t productive and don’t help us move forward. Instead, we can take a different path to clarity, one that includes mindfulness and focused action.
No matter what exactly it is you are confused about, these 10 steps can help you move forward, purposefully, on the path to getting clear about what it is you want, and feeling confident in your decisions.
1. Be still. You can spend all day trying to figure things out, only to know no more by the end of it. Sound familiar? Constantly ruminating on a problem does not help us to find the answer. Instead, quiet your mind. Practice being still, breathing, slowing down. Try a meditation practice, even if for only a couple minutes a day. You can only find a solution when you’re able to shift your thinking higher than the problem itself.
2. Ask for what you want. While you may not be clear on the specifics, you do know that you want clarity, peace of mind, and to be confident in your decisions. Focus on what you do want versus focusing on what you don’t want. Thinking about your confusion just brings you more confusion. Focus on clarity to receive more clarity.
3. Believe you can find it. The second part of asking for what you want is believing you can actually get it. Thoughts like “I’ll never figure this out” aren’t getting you anywhere and are likely keeping you stuck right where you are. Finding clarity requires believing that there is a clear solution, and that you will discover it.
4. Stop thinking and start moving. Confusion is truly an affliction of the mind, and one that is perpetuated by focusing on it. One of the best ways to combat over-thinking is to get out of your head and into your body. In addition to its physical benefits, exercise, like walking in nature, has been shown to have brain benefits as well.
5. Let go of worry. Worry is feeding the thoughts that you don’t want. When you find yourself worrying, press “pause” and replace the worry with a new, more positive reaffirming thought, like “What I want is coming to me.” Practice replacing worry with faith.
6. Enjoy the process. When you have set an intention to find clarity and are committed to the path, you can relax and enjoy the process. This may seem counterintuitive, as you’re thinking, “I’ll relax when I have clarity.” But when you are in a state of relaxation and peace, you are more open to recognizing the solutions that are available to you.
7. Follow the joy. Even during the times you feel most confused, there are likely spots of joy to be found in the smallest things. When something comes up that sparks joy for you, follow that path — without worrying where it may lead. Likewise, stay away from the activities that make you feel dragged down and depleted. Keep yourself energized.
8. Don’t be afraid to take action. Just taking small steps toward something that you want can help you move toward clarity. This might mean taking a class to learn more about a topic that interests you, doing some research on a new field, trying a new sport, going to a new event you wouldn’t have considered before. Think of it as a process of exploration rather than a process of making decisions.
9. Be patient. Maybe you’re working against the clock and have some internal or external deadline to meet. Be open to adjusting your timeline as needed, and realize that if you need to make a plan for the interim, that is fine, too. If you find yourself getting impatient and feeling pressure, remember to trust the process.
10. Trust yourself. While a big part of the finding clarity is giving up control, it also requires self-belief. True clarity will only be found when you can trust yourself above it all — knowing that you will eventually be able to identify the best path for you.
If you’ve been through a period of indecision and confusion, what has worked best for you? How have you managed the journey, and what has helped?
If you want even more help in finding clarity, you can book a free clarity session with me.