Feeling Secure in an Insecure World

If there’s nothing else carved on my tombstone, I hope it says: “Here lies a Bodacious Woman who knew how to thrive on shift and change!”

I believe we’ve just begun to taste the rate of change the world will experience this century. Hold onto your hats, the ride has just begun! We might as well enjoy it (because if nothing else, the alternative really stinks).

We all want security, but my life experience has forced me to come to a conclusion that I resisted for a long time: Security is an illusion. We’ve all heard that life doesn’t come with guarantees, but do we really want to believe it?

Money won’t bring security. Sure, it provides some comforts and advantages, but some of the richest people in the world are unhappy and insecure about their future. Relationships don’t guarantee security, either. One word proves that: Divorce. A fabulous house may indeed be fabulous, but many people’s homes have been damaged or destroyed by hurricanes, tornadoes, and all sorts of disasters. Wonderful kids offer tremendous satisfaction, but they don’t always act so wonderfully. All good things that you want in your life are just that-good-but they can’t guarantee you will feel good about yourself, make you happy, or relieve you of problems. Even an insurance policy doesn’t cover everything. Nothing is entirely certain or secure.

Ultimately, security comes from within. Most of the things or people we hope will offer security are outside of ourselves. What’s out there can’t bring us true security; it’s what’s in here that we have to rely on in the big scheme of things. External circumstances may shake us up and cause temporary problems and pain. No matter what happens, you have yourself, and given what you’ve handled in the past, that’s enough. The good news is that there’s wisdom in uncertainty. Sounds like another oxymoron, doesn’t it? Hold on and let me explain.

In the small Virginia town where I grew up, the carnival came once a year, with a big circus wheel, haunted house, and other wild delights. When my parents took my sister and me, I was always overwhelmed by the number of rides and games. Still, I dove in and always figured out how to have a great time!

This circus image comes to mind when I think about feeling secure in an insecure world. I imagine a colorful scene with lots going on. I’m alert to all that’s happening around me and I pay attention to the rides and booths to which I’m most attracted. I choose one ride and booth after another, soaking in the experience until the carnival is over. If a thunderstorm suddenly blows in, I immediately figure out where to find shelter. When the rain stops, I decide what to do next (or my parents decide it’s time to leave! I am still a young child, after all).

This is a picture of how to thrive on shift and change. Acknowledge the chaos and swirl. Survey the landscape and choose what you’d like to experience. Stay alert to opportunities and enjoy them while you can. And, handle change as it happens.

I still need to be very clear about my goals and desires and be very in touch with myself. What I don’t need to do is get locked into the path to get there. I can plan, but also be open to change. By not being overly attached to the details of my plans, I’m open to opportunities to learn, grow, or do things differently, and perhaps better.

Copyright (c) 2007 Mary Foley