Hello Dazzle! Thanks for coming and hanging out with me today, I’m glad that you are here. In a pervious post, I talked about the reasons that I feel that embracing uncertainty is helpful. You can read that post here: Learning To Be okay With The Unknown: Why Embracing Uncertainty Makes You Stronger. Today, I want to focus on things that you can do to work towards becoming better at embracing uncertainty.
Acknowledge that uncertainty is normal
The first step is frequently reminding yourself that uncertainty is a normal part of human life. It is easy to fall into the illusionary trap that our lives are some how more out of control then the lives of other people around us. The first reason that this is a trap is because we can never really compare our lives to the lives of others since we will only ever be afforded a curated view of their lives. Whatever they choose to show to us about their lives will be selected in order to create a certain impression. We all do this. And this is especially true when we are posting things on line.
The other reason that this is a trap is because we rarely experience the point of conflict in other people’s lives. Instead, we experience the before and after. We see the person or their life before an event and then we see what that person or their life looks like after said event as occurred. It is rare that people allow others into their more intimate moments of conflict and challenge. This means that the people who are actually witness to the uncertainty are a very small group. So, it can be easy assume there was never a point of uncertainty as someone changed their jobs or moved into a new home or got married. But just because we don’t witness something happening, doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen.
Every moment of change in a person’s life comes with uncertainty, even those moments that create positive change. This is the nature of being human. When things change, we cannot look into the future and know precisely how things will turn out. We can never be certain how tomorrow will unfold, no matter how much we plan for it. This means that uncertainty is just a fundamental part of the human experience.
Let go of what you can’t control
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,serenity prayer
Courage to change the things I can,
and Wisdom to know the difference.
Whenever you are facing troubling times, I encourage you to evaluate things from the perspective of the serenity prayer. Focus on building the ability to tell the difference between things that you can change and things that you cannot change. Put your time and effort into the things that you can change rather then those things that you cannot change.
If you are struggling to tell the difference between these two types of difficulties, consider the using the “What can I do about it?” exercise. Sit down with a piece of paper and write the problem on the top of the paper. Then start writing a list of things that you can do to effect change towards that problem. If you can’t list anything on your paper, then it falls into the category of “Things I Cannot Change.” If you can write out a list, that’s great! This gives you a way to move forward to create positive change in your life. If the things on your list require other people to do things or to respond well to the things that you are doing, your problem probably falls in the category of “Things I Cannot Change.” Because we can never control the behaviors of other people.
Practice mindfulness and meditation
Mindfulness and meditation can be powerful tools to help you become comfortable with the feelings that you are having in response to uncertainty. It can also help you with the feelings that you are having when you are struggling to accept that the problem you are facing is in the category of “Things I Cannot Change.” It is essential that you know what you are feeling through out the process and that you give yourself emotional space to have those feelings. This is why mindfulness and meditation can be so powerful.
Build a support network of family and friends
Regardless of what challenges we are facing in our lives, having social support is the single most powerful determinant towards effecting positive outcomes. Whenever we feel that we are being socially supported, we are better able to cope with the stressors that we are facing in our lives.
Create structure and routines in your life
When you are feeling that your life is filled with uncertainty, having a consistent daily routine and structured environment can create a sense of certainty and security in your life. You might not know if you’re going to get that job you applied for, but you know that you are going to start your day with a hot cup of tea while sitting on you porch and watching the birds in the trees. The more of these small, consistent moments we create in our daily routines, the more our brains feel certain about our lives. We count each individual moment of predictability or unpredictability with the same value, regardless of the impact they have on our lives. So the more of these small moments we have in our lives, the more events we put into the predicted column and the more our brains begin to feel secure.
Find a creative outlet for your worries
When we use creative activities to process our emotions, we are allowing our brains to think about our lives in non-threatening ways that also allow us to approach the problem from a new direction. Creative coping skills can be many things such as art or writing or dance or story telling or music. Anything that asks us to take our experience and transform it into something else is a creative coping skill. This can be channeling our anger into a sport or using our confusion to fuel research. Creativity has as many diverse outlets as there are people on this planet. What is important is that you are allowing what you are feeling to funnel through you and into the activity you are engaging in so that you can process those emotions in a positive and productive way.
Seek professional help if needed
If everything you are doing to manage your anxiety in regarding to uncertainty is not helping and you feel that this anxiety is negatively impacting your life, consider seeking out professional assistance. There are times that all of us can benefit from having an outside, unbiased perspective on our situation. Professionals can also help by teaching additional coping skills that might make all the difference that you need. Sometimes, it is just enough to have that safe space to have an uncensored conversation where you don’t have to worry about how the other person will feel in response to what you’re saying like you might with friends or family.
Like learning any skill in life, learning to embrace uncertainty will take time. It is not a single skill to learn, but rather a set of skills and each will take time to master. But like the learning of any skill, practice and persistence is the way to mastery.
Be careful how you define failure
Embracing uncertainty is about internal growth, self exploration and becoming more comfortable with the world as it is. This means that like everything we do to improve upon ourselves, it will be difficult to define failure and success. When we are working on ourselves, we have the luxury of being the only ones who have the power to define success and failure. Make sure that the way that you choose to define failure affords you the grace of being inconsistently human. Despite all of our best efforts and greatest intentions, there will be days that we perform better then others. Let that be part of the plan.
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!