Sometimes we find ourselves in phases where uncertainty plays a starring role. At times life asks us to make decisions when we are uncertain which direction we want to take. Other times the general mystery and uncertainty of what is in store for us is enough to push us into the stress zone.
When uncertainty surrounds us, it is common to procrastinate and even avoid moving forward. We may be reluctant to choose a path because we fear what we may lose, whom we may impact, and even how we will feel after the fact. Nobody wants to have regrets and when we are faced with uncertainty second-guessing our decisions becomes far too easy.
How do we move forward in the midst of uncertainty? How do we prevent ourselves from becoming paralyzed with fear of the unknown?
Instead of Fighting Uncertainty, We Accept it…
Uncertainty is uncomfortable. It reminds us that we do not have control over everything that life throws at us. Uncertainty either forces us to wait for clouds to clear or it pushes us to make decisions even when we are unsure. We resist riding the wave of uncertainty because it requires us to be patient and uneasy, but we also hesitate in making a decision because we fear it may end up being the ‘wrong’ one. So, we continue to fight uncertainty.
We look for facts that we can use as anchors in an effort to feel more sure. We create stories in an attempt to understand and make sense out of uncertainty. We do everything, but accept the uncertainty. The fighting – the endless search for facts and attempts to control – is what ultimately makes it more difficult for us to remain zen through uncertainty.
When we surrender to uncertainty and embrace it as another phase of life, we release ourselves from the burden of trying to control and even manipulate the organic development of our lives. By sitting with the uneasiness that uncertainty provokes instead of fighting it, we begin to lose our fear of it. Allowing ourselves to be present with the uncertainty helps us appreciate that it isn’t as bad as we have built it out to be in our head. The longer we sit with uncertainty, the easier it gets to accept, and the more it loses its power over us.
We Tune in to Why the Uncertainty Feels so Threatening to Us…
If we can learn to accept uncertainty, we open a door to explore what it is about the uncertainty that is freaking us out. Is not knowing whether or not you will get the job that you interviewed for causing you to go into panic mode because you feel it’s your one shot at getting your ideal job? Or maybe you fear that you won’t be able to pay the rent without it? Is it a fear of not finding a career path? These questions lead down a long road to self-awareness. They also alert us of just how nonsensical we can become when we wrap ourselves around our fears.
Awareness of why the uncertainty of something is bothersome helps us better understand why we are resisting believing that all eventually clears and settles. It also assists us in discovering how we want things to turn out and why we want it so. Equipped with this knowledge, we are empowered to make decisions and take actions that facilitate us in manifesting those desires, even in the midst of uncertainty.
Respecting that Uncertainty Offers Us Practice and Experience…
Though uncertainty can become burdensome, there is also an excitement in not knowing what will unravel. The mystery is beautiful in its own way and it can create renewed hope. Sometimes after the uncertainty is over, all turns out the way that we’d hoped.
Then there are others times when we take action in the midst of uncertainty and realize that our fear came true: we made a move that we later confirmed was not the ‘right’ one for us. This is what we were trying to avoid; and now here we are in the middle of what we feared. It happens and when it does it sucks. But, we’ve all been there and we survived.
Think back to the most difficult moments in your life. Would you be who you are without them? No. Would you able to appreciate the really great happenings in your life at the same level if you didn’t have this contrast? No. Would you have learned the lessons that you needed without them? Maybe. The real point here is that you survived the experience and it shaped you to be the person you are. The world did not end. You dug yourself out of holes and took the necessary actions to improve the situation. You were gifted with practice and experience that you can call upon later in life.
Uncertainty is just another layer in life. It may bruise us when we are in the middle of it, but we heal. We can better swim when uncertainty enters our lives if we accept, explore, and respect.
How do you swim in the midst of uncertainty?