Beneath certainty lies a very nastily tangled web of doubt. It seems to me that any rational person could not possibly be certain at all times about all things. And therein, as I see it, lays the problem. For me it is a large one.
Mostly, I go about my life certain that I am doing what I should be doing in the manner that I should be doing it. Even though I realize that everything I do is just my best guess, it still gives me some comfort. Well, actually, quite a bit of comfort. Foolish as that might be. Sometimes very foolish.
Every now and then, though, I am wracked by doubt. I don’t mean simple “ooh-maybe-I-should-have-done-that-differently” kind of doubt. I mean serious doubt about my place in this world, how I relate to others, what I should and should not be doing, what others expect of me, doubt about everything. I don’t much like it.
Certainty is fragile. It’s built upon beliefs and beliefs can be shattered in an instant. It doesn’t require much. A small, seemingly innocent comment from a friend can, upon reflection, become a world ending calamity. Even a silence at a crucial moment can spell disaster. Talking myself out of these doubts can sometimes take only minutes, but often days. Or it may never happen. Those are the “deal breakers;” the times I lose faith with myself … when I lose all belief that I know what I am doing. It’s important for me to feel (at least a little) that I know what I am doing. Otherwise, I might never do anything. In those times, I think I must know how the clinically depressed experience life. It isn’t pleasant. I can’t imagine feeling that way day in and day out.
How does one get past the doubts? I wish I knew. As I said, sometimes I can talk myself through it. Other times, I just have to wait and hope that the doubts will magically disappear of themselves. Now and then something will happen to tell me that my worries were unfounded.
I have not yet truly figured out how to live with doubt. And because of my age, I’m beginning to think that I may never.
I’ve worked hard on the issue of financial security (that can be a big, worrying-at-you kind of doubt) by keeping in mind that “security” is merely a concept and doesn’t have any true bearing on reality. And I’ve had some success with that. But I’ve pretty much ignored working on all the other doubtful things in my life.
I seem to have some of my most difficult moments around what others might expect of me. On the one hand, I hate to let people down. On the other, there is just a whole lot of stuff people would like for me to do that I have no desire to do or am simply incapable of doing. When I choose to stay true to myself, I feel all sorts of doubts about my “goodness.” It’s a mess. Why should doing what makes me most happy make me so unhappy?
The problem in relationships, is that I can’t truly know what someone is thinking or expecting of me. I can only guess. That equals more doubts. And with my tendency to put a negative spin on it, it gets totally out of hand in a heart beat.
Doubt and worry go hand in hand with each other for me. A little more real certainty in my life would be nice. Of one thing I am certain … my husband, Bernd, loves me, has always loved me, and will always love me. That may seem a foolhardy thing to be certain of, but it’s seen me through many tough times. It will have to do.