Certainty is a myth. It always has been. Life and death are certain. You might be here tomorrow; you might not be. When we rely on certainties beyond this, we set ourselves up for unnecessary stress, disappointment, and fear.
I’d like to share a different perspective on living with uncertainty. You see, I’ve built my life around living with uncertainty. There are two approaches to living with certainty and uncertainty. One is to live with expectations of certainty in your life and to react accordingly when those expectations fall short; the other is to make space for and respond to life’s uncertainties with inner confidence.
The latter requires a level of inner confidence. Inner confidence is trust. Trust in yourself. Inner confidence is akin to having an internal compass helping you navigate life’s uncertainties, allowing you to continually adjust your path on your journey in life.
Strive for inner confidence, not certainty.
I tend to use inner confidence and quiet confidence interchangeably. They are related but do have different nuances. For purposes of this article, I am using them as one and the same. Quiet confidence is trust in yourself, that no matter what happens, what tomorrow, next week, or the next month brings, you can and will move on.
Quiet confidence is an understanding that you have the tools, the knowledge, the skills, the resilience, the support, and the decision-making ability to flow with change. It is trusting that where you lack in one area, you have the ability to learn and to overcome.
Nowhere are easy times guaranteed. That concept relies on certainty. There will be rough patches in life. Quiet confidence helps guide you through those times.
- Quiet confidence allows you to sit with uncertainty, to make adjustments, and even fail.
- Quiet confidence is built on the foundation of self-awareness, of curiosity, of resilience.
- Quiet confidence brings about freedom from societal norms, allowing you to live your life your way.
Certainty is Based on Expectations
Certainty is based on expectations, loosely balanced atop of all else in life; other people, the economy, your health, your finances, your relationships, even the weather. When one aspect shifts, uncertainty takes hold. Your world tumbles.
When we cling to certainty, we lean into our false towers, believing all else holds us up. But in reality, we are our own tower. When we choose to lean into uncertainty, to explore it with curiosity, to build our lives around it, we gain freedom.
Relying on certainty is like chasing permanence, demanding that things never change. Or at least, that they change on your terms. This is not life works. Things change. People change. We change. Everything changes.
The Dangers of Unmet Certainty
Unmet certainty paves the way to anger, injustice, and resentment. Quiet confidence lends itself to compassion, understanding, and empathy. You get to choose your approach, and therefore, your outcome. You get to choose whether to live a life expecting certainty, or to make space and peace with the uncertainties of life that will inevitably come your way.
Unmet certainty demands to be heard. Its voice never silenced. Quiet confidence allows one to grow in silence and solitude. Quiet confidence makes way for compassion, including self-compassion.
When we crave certainty and then any area of our life experiences a sudden change, fear sets in, causing us to focus on what was and to question what will be. This fear strives for answers. This fear demands certainty. It does not support inner peace.
The Alternative – Quiet Confidence
Quiet confidence, on the other hand, sets atop of awareness, curiosity, and intent. Quiet confidence accepts change, it acknowledges uncertainty but does not bow to it. This inner confidence makes space for inner peace. It soothes the rough edges, fills the voids, crooks and crannies.
Only you can choose. To choose fear and to demand for certainty as your guideposts or to choose inner confidence and self-awareness as your internal compass.
I choose the latter. Because in the end, a life of certainty is a myth.
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The original version of this post was initially published on my LinkedIn Profile under the same title, Certainty is a Myth.