Hello Dazzle! Thanks for coming and hanging out with me today, I’m glad that you are here. Today I want to talk about the art of embracing uncertainty and the ways that doing so makes you stronger. I have been struggling a lot with feelings of uncertainty in my life as of late and have been struggling to feel more comfortable with them. Because of that, I have needed to remind myself why embracing uncertainty is important. After all, understanding why something is worth doing is the first step in being able to achieve it.
The only thing certain in life is death and taxes.-Benjamin Franklin
Uncertainty is inescapable. Whether we like it or not, there will always be things beyond our control. And yet, so often we find ourselves fighting against the very thing that is inevitable. We try to plan every step of our lives, thinking that if we can just control the variables, we can avoid any negative outcomes. But the truth is, no matter how much we plan, there will always be the element of the unknown. We can never plan things in such a way to prevent every negative outcome in our lives. Bad things will always happen. We will experience suffering, it is a part of being human. As essential to our humanness as our mortality and breathing.
When we chase the illusion of control, we are only trapping ourselves into a constant state of panic and planning. This is a state where we are constantly looking towards the future and asking ourselves what are all the possible negative outcomes that could result from the various different choices that we can make in our lives. The trap is that this state of living often leads to inaction. When someone becomes preoccupied with planning and evaluation of risk; they risk missing the moment that action is required in order to take advantage of an opportunity presenting itself in their lives.
The more we try to control in our lives, the more we limit our ability to truly live. Because when we’re constantly worrying about the what-ifs, we’re not present in the moment. We’re not able to enjoy the good times because we’re too busy preparing for the worst. We are not able to talk with our friends freely because we are preoccupied with what they might think of what we say next. We are not able to take the risk of applying for the job because we are afraid of the rejection that we experience. We are not able to walk away from the bad relationship because we cannot imagine what could come after it. This leaves us in a stasis where we are floating through our lives as victims of the circumstances around us rather then as moving through life as an active and participating character.
So what if we learned to embrace uncertainty instead? What if we accepted that there will always be things beyond our control, and that it’s not necessarily a bad thing? When we embrace uncertainty, we open ourselves up to a world of possibilities. We’re no longer limited by our fears of the unknown, and we can start to live more fully. Because accepting uncertainty means that there are always possibilities beyond the negative ones that we imagine. It also means that there is no way to fully know or plan for what is coming next. Thus, a certain degree of impulsivity and spontaneity is required.
Embracing uncertainty is unlocking your mind from the illusion that you have control of everything in your life. Regardless of the choices that you make in your life, you never have any control over the choices that others make or the actions that others take. You can be a very safe driver, but that doesn’t prevent you from dying in a car accident because another driver chose to be careless or impaired behind the wheel. The irony is that embracing uncertainty grants you to power to make choices more freely because you no longer need your choices to be perfect, certain or completely safe.
When we accept that we cannot control everything in our lives, by embracing uncertainty, we are accepting the autonomy and free will of others. This will likely lead to better relationships since you will no longer feel pressured to impose your will upon others or need to force others to conform to your desires. This acceptance of personal autonomy allows you to explore others on a much more intimate level then you can when you are focused on controlling, managing or mitigating their behaviors as a method to ensure control in your life.
When we are living in the moment, with a focus on the moment, we are better prepared to authentically respond to the things that are happening in our lives. This means that we are more likely to take the risks that allow us to connect with others. It means that we are also more likely to see the moments that are opportunities in our lives to make desired changes. We can begin to see the promotion as a way to improve our standard of living rather then a list of unknown job duties and unpredictable work expectations. This change in mind set allows us to become more flexible and adaptable to the things that are happening around us rather then being forced to exist with the things that have happened to us as we float along.
This seems to be were resilience is born. It may seem like a unicorn in the world of mental wellness, but it is an achievable goal. One of the first steps to being able to withstand or to recover quickly from difficulties is accepting that they are going to come in a manner that is beyond your control. Part of this resilience also comes from having less formulated expectations for the future. When we have a clear and crisp imagining of what our work will bring forth it is easy to become disappointed when the reality doesn’t completely match what we reached for. The more planning we engage in, the more expectations we carry for our futures and the more likely those futures won’t match our expectations.
There is a degree of personal freedom in knowing that you are not personally responsible for every bad thing that has happened in your life, but rather that we humans are incapable of preventing all the suffering we might face in our life times. Knowing that we are not to blame every time things go wrong is a comfort. This isn’t to say that we should avoid taking responsibility in our lives, but it does give us permission to acknowledge that we have put in an effort and that that we’ve done our best. No one, not even ourselves, can rationally expect that we give more then our best. After all, there is nothing more then that to be given.
When we accept uncertainty we stand in a position to create positive change. After all, positive change is a point of uncertainty where we have taken a risk to shape the flow of events in our lives. This means that improving anything in our lives requires a degree of uncertainty as it changes from what it currently is into what we would like it to become. This transition is the uncertainty. We can never know for sure if it will become exactly the thing we are striving for or if it will actually become something worse. That’s the risk that is always present in uncertainty. But here’s the rub. Change will happen to you whether you want it to or not. By embracing uncertainty you are taking on the power to shape that into the positive change you are seeking.
Embracing uncertainty is holding onto hope. It is having faith. And it can be hard.
Well, that’s about it for my rambling today. Thanks for coming and spending some time with me. If you like what you read, click on that like button. It really does help! Until we talk again, you take care of yourselves!