Our brains are wired to find certainty. The moment we link two things, or build a connection to reveal a pattern of events, we get a hit of dopamine. Certainty calms us down, it makes us feel in control and it is what we often us to ‘make sense’ of the world.
But certainty is a black-or-white beast in a world of infinite greys. Whether we like it or not, all of the things we may feel certain about have the potential to change at any moment. So shouldn’t the goal be not to find certainty, but to open ourselves up to the inherent uncertainty of life? If we can be adaptable, malleable, flexible towards our ideas about the world, maybe we can avoid the suffering which comes when our expectations do not meet our reality.
So what happens in that moment, when we are uncertain? When something happens that knocks us a little and our brains are looking for that vital hit of you-got-this dopamine? Can we stop searching and just sit in that uncertainty? Can we breathe through it, consider the wonderous nature of the world and accept that we cannot be entirely absolutely 100% certain about anything?
Lately, when I’ve found myself in those moments of sheer uncertainty, looking over the edge of groundedness and worried about spiralling into the unknown, I stop, I take a deep breath, and I tell myself that above all else, if absolutely nothing else, whatever happens, I will have my own back. And maybe that’s the only thing we can ever be close to certain about. And maybe that’s enough, for now.