#16 <– get fully naked and grip tighter

You sent me an interesting comment over Facebook. I asked and you said you didn’t mind if I shared it.

I don’t know what my identity is. How do I know what I’ve “picked” and what I’ve committed too?

I’m sure you realize that by asking this question you already know the answer.

You haven’t chosen.

People who have made a choice know because the choice preoccupies their every decision.

But I can relate with what you are saying. We’re at the age where it’s hard to make one single choice/one single commitment. It’s too early in our lives, right?

But we may as well see where we are headed. As I said to you

Why don’t you have a look at the pictures you’re tagged in on Facebook? It may not be the most accurate way of figuring it out but I think it’s a good way to see the direction you’re headed.

If the majority of your pictures are you spending time with your family, then I would say that your family may define you.

If the majority of your pictures are you running in different places, then I would say that your running may define you.

If the majority of your pictures are you drinking in different places, then I would say that your drinking may define you.

Obviously this is a superficial exercise and pictures on Facebook don’t cover your entire life, but if you were to ask me, I would say that this is a very, very good place to start!

Perhaps what defines you is something unspeakable. Perhaps it’s some ideology or theology that can’t be captured through images. If this is you, and you’ll know if it is, then stay confidently quiet knowing that the person you portray online is only a idiosyncratic version of who you really are.

Moving on.

3 more posts on doubt.

So far I’ve talked about how doubt reveals certainty and how you’re visiting a foreign land” href=”https://mpdelmonte.wordpress.com/2011/09/03/15-youre-visiting-a-foreign-land/”> doubt reveals identity.

We can only doubt the thing we’re certain of and when we face doubt we are able to see who we are and also we are not.

Doubt can cause a moment of crisis but only if there has been a lifetime of conviction.

But this is all theoretical, this is all to help us build a landscape that we will now traverse.

Let’s get practical.

What happens when you do face doubt? What are you to do? Where are you to go? Are you going to run in a different direction? Are you going to flee from your home?

Our first instinct these days is to simply let go and to flee in another direction.

When we begin to face questions our commitment can begin to fade.

It can wither like something fragile.

It’s inevitable.

Commitment to one thing means forgetting many things. But forgetting the other things is so hard and it takes a mature person. No matter how mature the person is, committing under pressure will always cause tension.

Doubt is this tension.

Doubt can grow out of the feeling of abandonment, distrust, uncertainty, commotion, confusion or any number of things.

Whatever you’re calling into question; the thing you love, the person you love, the activity you do every single day: you’re finding yourself doubting the very thing that defines you and this is damn hard!

So what do you do? Where do you go?

Let’s say you just got married and your marriage is starting to get hard.

I’m proposing that you hold on even harder.

Grip tighter!

Go deeper into your commitment. Doubt and question every corner of it. Leave no stone uncovered. But do it because you want to make it work; because you want to see it to the end.

Explore the intricacies that initially seem like flaws. I bet if you look even closer and hold them even tighter they’ll turn out to be your greatest fortunes.

A friend of mine was a Christian until his early 20s and then renounced his faith because the whole thing seemed hokey-pokey. He told me it felt like a fairy tale and he couldn’t commit to it anymore.

There’s nothing wrong with renouncing your faith and your commitment.

But there’s something deeply wrong when the decision to renounce it occurs so quickly. A real commitment is never easily or quickly let go. Letting go is difficult and it will leave you wounded.

It takes effort and is painful to let go of what you loved and what defines you.

So instead of running in another direction and abandoning it, go further into it. Flip every stone! Study it and embrace it even more. Expose it! Get fully naked with it and for God’s sake…

…grip tighter!

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4 Comments on “#16 <– get fully naked and grip tighter”

  1. September 4, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

    nothing is forever. And a tried and true identity are for those afraid of change and unwilling to accept that there is more to learn beyond what they already know. Opinions should be firm, yet malleable to allow for the possibility that all you know may be completely false.

    None of us are one straight arrow of thoughts and beliefs, no matter how much some people wish they were.

    And doubt is usually a warning sign for danger or scepticism, and gripping tighter seems to me, a one-size-fits-all solution, to what could be millions of different situations.

    Because it sounds like you are saying that doubt is merely fog in the mist, something that merits simply walking through it to dispel your fears.

    Your marriage analogy I found specifically problematic. Not all marriages are meant to last forever, mainly because not all couples should be married in the first place. And though I very much agree with your obvious opinion of, “if times get hard, work harder”, there is a point where it becomes an act of futility if no resolutions can be made. Not to mention the fact, that many times, its only one partner trying.

    I think its important to remember, the end point of doubt is not always the dissipation of fear, but sometimes the realization that what you’ve feared is a reality. And then, its time to grip tight to your new belief, because all of your searching and digging, has found you an answer you must act on.

    Then fear = change, which is the biggest challenge yet.

    Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.
    Oscar Wilde

    great discussion Mikey.
    (continue on FB- PM if you’d like)

    • September 4, 2011 at 11:47 pm #

      @Miguel – These are really good insights. I’m really thinking about that Wilde quote… I’ll PM you later.

      I would suggest, if you haven’t already, reading some of the early posts on language-games, identity and judgment. I think they may help shed some light on what is going on in posts 14, 15, and 16.

  2. Anonymous
    September 4, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

    i don’t know why or how, but something drew me to your blog and so i have been following your writings. thank you for them; they leave a lot to think upon. i do have a question, though. what happens when that one ‘commitment’ that you make/made disappoints you or causes you to be wounded? it is then that hope seems like a dangerous thing. i don’t know what to make of that.
    again, though, i find your blog intriguing and refreshing. thanks.

    • September 4, 2011 at 11:46 pm #

      @Anonymous – Your question will come up in the next section. I have two more posts on doubt and will then move on to what happens AFTER doubt… i.e. despair. I’ll do 4 posts on despair and then finish up with hope.
      Hopefully I can shed some light on your question.

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