Six Core Needs: Certainty – Episode 010


Sir Paul McCartney sang,

“If this ever-changing world which we live in, makes you give in and cry… to live and let die! Well, we’re not dead yet, so let’s live while we still have life in us!”

Hi, I’m Shayne Sullivan from After the Waiting Room and welcome to the next episode.

Today I’m exploring another of our six core needs:


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It IS an uncertain world we all live in.
It always has been and change is always inevitable.
Nothing stays the same.

Sometimes we can catch ourselves thinking about the good old days, about how life used to be for us.

Always looking back when we felt much safer.
Looking back can be illuminating when there are lessons to be gleaned from the past ,to carry with us into our present and then into our future, if those lessons serve us well.

Sometimes looking back on old times may not be the best thing for us to do too much.
Our unconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between what is real and what isn’t and if we keep reliving things over and over again, it’s a stress and constant fear we have in our lives which may keep us stuck and miserable.

Sometimes we think our lives will always be the same until something, someone, an event or a thought, shakes us out of our comfortable or uncomfortable space.

It’s not good or bad. It just is.

And it’s the meaning we give these events, people or thoughts that create our reality.

Our unconscious mind loves certainty.
It is a need that must and will be filled come hell or high water!
Certainty in our lives gives us a base we can build on to move forward in our lives, to achieve the things we want and need to achieve and of course, to feel safe.

We move away from pain more than we move towards pleasure.
We are quite certain we don’t want pain first and foremost.

It can be exhausting trying to figure out which is the best way to go, being stuck, not knowing which is the right choice, to avoid pain and because of fear of the unknown.

Sometimes we feel we have no choice because it is as it has always been and we become very unsure of ourselves, always second-guessing, over analyzing things, that we don’t move at all!

So, how do we get the certainty we need?

We have resourceful and unresourceful ways to give us certainty in our lives, in our finances, our health, our relationships, giving our egos certainty and safety and knowing its place in the world.

We do this by developing habits, which are ways of thinking about ourselves and the world around us.

Habits are strategies we develop and most of the time we aren’t aware we’re doing them, like driving a car, getting dressed in the mornings, the way we eat our meals, the way we speak and greet others.
Habits, because of their unconscious nature make life a little easier for us.

Developing habits that serve us is great because they move us forward without having to put too much energy into them, like auto payments from our bank account to pay bills on time.
Exercising each day or playing a favourite sport or musical instrument or writing for work or pleasure.

They all become effortless when we develop the associated skills over time.

Having skills which celebrate who we are, allows us to step out with confidence into an uncertain world.

However, the opposite may also happen.

Habits such as obsessively overworking ourselves, and striving to have all the extras we think we need or to do things that we think that only we can do, is not very ecological.

I’ve watched people in their hospital beds taking business calls and working on their computers, while hooked up to life-saving medication.
They’re driven by fear of uncertain times if they don’t.

Of course, having this amount of certainty and being absolutely right about the necessity to keep working will eventually take its toll.

Overtraining because we are ego-driven to get the perfection and the perceived certainty that comes with the perfect body, is not ecological.

Injuries, resulting in anxiety and depression at not being unable to train and subsequent feelings of being “less than.”

It’s not sustainable.

Ignoring and judging others because we don’t agree with what they are doing simply points out that we have missed the point of the behavior.

Where do we get certainty from?

It’s not from the things, the people and events that surround us.

We may think that having lots of material things around us will give us the security we need for ourselves and our families.
In some respects, this is true.
Our survival is based on us feeling safe.
We need shelter, food and our health in order to enjoy our lives.

But what happens if something happens to us?

Our certainty and security is dashed because all of those external trappings are under threat.
Or we may feel threatened by what others think of us.
Or what we think others think of us.
This may drive us unnecessarily to work even harder to compete with those around us, to make us feel good about ourselves, measuring ourselves against others.

I heard a great piece of advice.

What others think of us is none of our business.

Be more concerned about what we think of ourselves.

And to know, deep down in our gut, that we are strong enough, good enough, capable, in our own way, irrespective of what happens externally around us.

Other people’s judgement of us , whether real or perceived is only a reflection of them.

So what others think of us really has nothing to do with us.

Being intrinsically self-assured empowers us to make the most of what we have and to be able to decide for ourselves how we really want things to be.

I’ve had many conversations with those who have faced imminent death.
What strikes me most about those who are prepared to die is how they’ve viewed their life and how grateful they were to have the opportunity to organise things their own way.

It gives them so much peace of mind, knowing they’ve done their best given what they have in their lives and the circumstances that they’ve dealt with during that time.

I’m sure that this only comes when we are self-assured.

Those who don’t possess this self-assurance may become very anxious in an uncertain existence.

Letting go of events, past, present, and future.
People who we allow to upset us, some call them toxic or energy vampires.
They are if we allow them to be. All these things are external.

If anything hooks us in and we get that feeling of losing control over matters, then maybe it’s time to use these feelings as a sign to let our reaction to whatever it is or whoever it is-go- and drop it at our feet and breathe.

Make it really hard for someone or something to hurt or upset us.

Instead, before rising for the day send yourself the love you deserve, self-compassion is readily accessible to us all.
Then turn that compassion towards all those you will meet through the day, instead of dreading was is ahead.
If we “sache” through the day like this, people will unknowingly respond in like, being attracted to your sense of self whom you have greeted at the beginning of each day.
You’ll find a sense of calm and secure compassion will surround you and those around you.
People will notice a shift in your demeanor.

I often talk about being a Teflon duck, just letting things go that are feeding our insecurities .
Making them no longer important, letting them slide, like water off a duck’s back, like oil in a nonstick frypan.
Shake off your feathers and keep on going.

I’ve used this one with people who believe they’re being bullied.
If we decide how we create what happens then certainty is present in our lives again.
It’s a matter of taking control on your own terms.
And sometimes it’s a matter of just stepping aside and looking at yourself and asking, “what would I say to me right now?”
As if looking through a window or watching a movie of yourself.

As Eckhart Tolle says, “To offer no resistance to life is to be in a state of grace, ease, and lightness. This state is then no longer dependent upon things being in a certain way, good or bad.”

Whether it’s in our living or in our dying we can create our own reality knowing we are being our true selves, creating how we want things to be, easily and effortlessly.

Until next time, don’t just exist, live life!

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