Home > Blog > Conviction

Taking a position is an attempt to find a solid identity, a task that's simply impossible.

25 Mar 2024

Be yourself. Know who you are. Be strong in your convictions.

These are the messages society aspires to. We look up to people who seem so sure of themselves and hold strong, unwavering opinions.

Yet there’s something murky hiding underneath that aspiration. An uneasy feeling that I don’t know who I am. A fear that I can’t find a stable identity where I can truly just rest.

So we search for ourselves - we go overseas, watch talks, read countless articles and books, constantly meet new people and collect experiences and find that none of it really satisfies that craving to know who I am. If only I found the right set of convictions, the right set of opinions, the right friends, the perfect partner, the right way of being, then I would know who I am, and could finally relax. Just like those other people who seem so sure of themselves.

What we miss is that those people we idolise harbour a secret that even they don’t want to admit. They don’t know who they are either. The conviction in their beliefs is merely a compensation for the fear of not being able to find any solid, permanent identity.

Please don’t just take my word for it. Investigate your own convictions. Where did they come from? Are they anything more concrete than just ideas you were exposed to? Can you find them anywhere in what you are other than a thought or belief? Most importantly - if those thoughts, beliefs and convictions were not there, would you still be here? How can you find any solid place to stand if beliefs come and go?

Chasing the right set of convictions or the right stance or right position in order to feel like we’re whole and complete has no end, because it’s impossible. Burning ourselves out to find a needle in a haystack, we’re so busy that we don’t stop and notice that both haystack and needle are imagined.

The only place to truly rest is to see clearly that no solid identity can be found in taking a position - that any position is just a collection of thoughts and beliefs that we’ve adopted. Whatever we are is right here, it doesn’t need to be searched for or grasped on to. It’s a plain old ordinary, obvious mystery, something that thoughts simply will never grasp. To see that clearly is to see that there’s a freedom to be whoever and whatever we are and to let go of trying to find it in the perfect set of beliefs.

I don't email very often

Powered by Buttondown

Profile picture

Jordan West

Sydney, Australia

jordan [at] west.io | twitter | github | youtube | instagram