Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hello Doubt?

I went to bed rather early last night and as a consequence find myself awake three hours before I need to leave for work. I cannot say that this is a bad thing at all, as there are many things that I can get done in these quiet morning hours before the world truly wakes up and begins their day. I stepped outside to take in the cooler morning air and was pleasantly surprised to find that I was comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt this early in March. Yesterday saw a high in the 70's and today the temperature may even crest to 80 degrees. I enjoy consecutive days when I can keep the top down on the car and enjoy my morning commute through the back roads and woods. The curves are always fun to drive and that time listening to music and simply enjoying my car and life bring a certain peace to the beginning of my day.

I awoke this morning plagued by true and incredibly deep uncertainty about my life and the choices I have made over the years. While these emotions and thoughts could simply be chalked up to the vestigial remains of the odd dreams I know myself to have and not always remember, when I came inside the idea that struck me was this, "What if I am completely wrong about everything that I think and believe about myself, others and this world I live in?"

Now, in some people, that concept or notion could strike a blind panic of self evaluation or prompt some soul searching effort to rectify the matters in life that solicit doubts, but I must admit, I actually do enjoy a good bit of introspection even if it may be prompted by a deep rooted insecurity I have yet to discover or face  in confrontational manner with myself to discover a resolution. The fact remains that while I am certain that I am not completely wrong about all of the things I think and believe, there exists the real possibility that I am incorrect in some or many things.

The unusual pattern about the things that we believe about ourselves, others and the world around us is something I find to be this. They are all building blocks that are assembled foundationally, one upon another, each one stacking or joining to its predecessors and antecedents. They eventually all become interconnected in some fashion in our hearts and heads and truly effect the manner in which we live, act, talk, present, dress and form community with those around us. What I believe about myself alters what I do. What I do certainly changes daily what others believe about me and how we all interact as community, whether it be the workplace, peer groups, family, friends or acquaintances. It is all interconnected in this things we call life and "no man is an island unto himself."

There are always things that I doubt about myself, as we all do to some extent in this human experience. Some are incredibly formational and profound, while other doubts and insecurities are less apparent, even to myself at times. Am I a good person? Am I attractive enough? Are these choices I am making with my career going to bring me the results I wish for? Does my peer group love me for who I am, or merely the idea of me? Should I have done that? Will I ever find true love? What should I do on my day off? Am I a good person? What could I have done differently? How do I really feel? Are my parents right about more things than they are wrong? Is there really any absolute truth? Does God exist? Am I self delusional? Why do I like that sweater but never wear it? Do people miss me when I am not there? The list of questions and doubts could go on and on if one lets it, but they are the verbalization of internal scrutiny that forces me to examine myself daily from what I would hope is an objective third party perspective. All to often, I know I fail at this miserably, as I am forever locked into my own window and view of myself and those around me.

Why do I doubt myself? Maybe that in itself is an even better question? If my life is put down on paper, it looks amazing. The facts of my existence, both in the past and currently are certainly in many ways a model of success by others reckoning. The thing that betrays simply listing facts and circumstances is the reality that the unseemly, unattractive, immoral, incorrect, embarrassing mistakes, tragedies and situations that have also contributed to my existence never seem to be considered or listed. That selective editing of my past and present in order to present myself in a confident and successful way from a position of strength seems to be a weakness that never allows me to truly open up to those I love and trust. The very walls I have erected to protect myself eventually have become my own prison, to which I have lost the key.

There are some in my life who know more of my story. There are also those that with their keen skills of perception and own life experiences are able to read between the lines of my thoughts and actions and see a more whole picture of who I truly am. Am I able to do that myself or have I carefully assembled all my good things in such a fashion to blind me to my obvious and glaring faults that others can detect in such an easy fashion? Even an attempt to consider self doubt leaves me posturing in such a manner as to minimize exposure, loss and possible pain. That is frustrating!

So what if I am wrong? Is that possibility all that bad? What are the eventual consequences for not having everything right or correct in my head and heart? Does that quest for "truth" or "correctness" not also rob from me the simple daily enjoyment I find in this human experience? To what extent do I need to concern myself with being "right"? I have some friends who simply just live, with no thought of what the outcome may be. I find that alluring at times but know that it would not bring me the results and outcome that I seek. I have been the carefree wandering spirit at times in my life, and while I enjoyed it, I did not find comfort or pleasure of not being the master of my own fate and decisions. Placing the responsibility of my existence on the actions and choices of others is not the type of man I am nor wish to be.

Have I struck closer to a realization there? Is doubt and certainty, right and wrong, correct or false more about a struggle for control? Or is it possibly the frightened reaction to the very real possibility that complete control of my life is an illusion or something that I am slowly losing as I grow older and my habits and patterns become more ingrained into my personality? What are the consequences of not being in control? Is the struggle with faith more about my pride and lack of surrender in any area of my life about dominance and submission? I refuse to be ruled, this much I know, but at times in my life I have accepted others authority over myself easily, as long as the outcome and pay off of the scenario was to my ultimate liking. If the endgame was mine, I didn't chafe under discipline or orders.

I know I am frightened of being wrong. I know that I am often not right. I keep seeking "truth" whatever that may be, about myself, others, faith and this world around me. I do have doubts. There are also many things of which I am certain, at least for this day.

I believe I can live with that for the time being.



  1. I feel like I could have written this post myself. It sucks being full of so much doubt.

    I'll be praying for you. :)

  2. Your doubts would be troublesome if they had a paralytic effect. You still went to work(I'm guessing). You drank your morning coffee(I'm guessing). You ate(I'm guessing.) Are you a "fan" of doubt, or would you rather a degree of certainty accompany each aspect of your life's actions? Aren't those without doubts zealots?

    Near the end of his storied life, Bertrand Russell was asked "What do you know for sure?" He replied: "I know nothing for sure." Not even that one plus one equalled two, as his famous proof supposed.

    Regret, to which you strongly alluded, is a separate matter. The building blocks of your life, as you eloquently analogized, are firmly in place--even where you don't want them. But, like an elevator button that's been pushed, there's no going back and there's no stopping, even if you wanted to. And the part that makes it difficult--coming to terms with those things you wish you could do-over or not have done at all--is how they affect your life now. Specifically, how you have lived with all your secrets. Does the associated fear cause inaction, do they mean closing yourself off to others, or have you learned to put them in perspective in that brilliant way which allows you to smile in spite of yourself?

    Surely you know someone(perhaps many) who are indifferent to your belief system, who are indifferent to what you do with your wiener and what others may do unto you with theirs. They may even be the same people who miss you when you're not there, wearing that sweater you're having doubts about. You know, the ones who secretly wish you were around more often so they could catch more of your contagious laugh, who secretly glisten whenever you pat them on the back, whose lives would be in shambles were you no longer a part of it.

    You are not doubt's bitch. But you do need some doubt to allow yourself a shot at the truth you are so eager to find.

  3. Hey,
    I just wanted to say that I stumbled across your blog and I really love it. I share your views of life and love how you put them across.
    Hope you have a sunny day and I look forward to following the blog.

  4. Jeff,

    Thanks for taking the time to read a few words of mine and the encouraging comments. I look forward to checking out your blog when I get off work today. Have a great Saint Patrick's Day!