“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security”
John Allen Paulos.
Who in the world is John Allen Paulos? Apparently, he’s a mathematics professor at Temple University. He has a point there in that quote. He writes about mathematics, and a couple of other things I suppose. I’m not going to go into that.Uncertainty, however, is something that I’ve lived with my entire life. I won’t say that I’ve struggled with it, because it’s something that’s just always been there for me. It was something that I accepted and lived with. I can’t think of many times that I was ever truly certain of anything in the past, and I was okay with that. This is true even now though I’m trying hard to not be that way.
Even though I’ve worked hard to change my mindset about things, about my entire life, there are still uncertainties that creep in. Sometimes they don’t even creep. They smash into my thoughts like a slow-moving freight train through a snow bank. My mental walls against them just aren’t strong enough, and so I struggle with these thoughts of not being good enough or not being able to do something. I struggle with insecurities.
I end up asking myself if I’m capable of doing things when I shouldn’t be asking that. I should just do it. I end up questioning whether my willpower is strong enough to continue going through these changes that I’ve made in my life. I question whether I’m doing the right things for my life and my son’s life.
Why do I do that? That only leads to more questions and even more insecurities. I will say that typing these posts up do help, but sometimes they introduce more thoughts and questions into my mind. That particular quote adds another question. How do I live with insecurity? I’ve done that all my life, but it’s caused me to avoid doing the things that I might have found enjoyable. It’s caused me to avoid doing anything that I saw as a challenge. I took easy paths because… well, because they were easy; because I didn’t think that I was up to the challenge.
There was one thing that I had been certain of. I was certain that my marriage was going to last forever, but that just isn’t the case. I am grateful for those years. I really am, but I feel like there are many good years ahead of me; possibly even better years.
I dropped out of college a couple of times. I completely stopped going to classes on several occasions. It was the easy thing to do.
I ended up working for my family’s business instead of pushing myself to do better. It was the easy thing to do. I’m not complaining about where I work. I’m immensely grateful that I have the business. I’m extremely lucky in that respect, but sometimes I think that it’s not enough.
There are things that I want to do. I want to work on my writing. I want to improve my photography. I want to learn how to build things out of wood like furniture. But… Uncertainty and insecurity stares me in the face and says:
“You can’t possibly create anything that anyone would want to read, see, or use.”
“You’re not good enough.”
“You’re not smart enough.”
“Are you sure that you’re even capable?”
Fighting your own thoughts is one of the hardest fights that you can get into. It’s a fight that I often question whether I can win.
I talk to myself a lot. I argue with myself a lot. Hey, what do you expect? I spend a lot of my time during the day alone, which gives me entirely too much time to think.
I once started to teach myself how to program in C++ and C#. That stopped after I created this simple conversion program. Why did I stop? I didn’t think that I would have been able to work on anything that anyone would use.
I’ve taught myself how to create a webpage from a blank text document, but I’ve never liked how anything that I’ve created looked. I’ve never been satisfied and always ended up thinking that nobody else in the world would like what I’ve just created.
The thing is that I can’t even put a finger on why I’m like this and that makes it incredibly hard to change it by myself. I’m working on it, but those two beasts are still there.
How do I live with insecurity?
As with most of my posts, this is hard to type up even harder to share. Do you guys realize that? Even now I question why I do this. Does this help me? Can this help anyone else? I feel like the answer to the first question is yes, and I certainly hope that the answer to the second question is the same.