LIVING WITH UNCERTAINTY

Uncertainty. Most of us hate it, resist it, do everything we can to deny its existence and reinforce the illusion of stability and certainty. Yet it’s a fundamental truth of being human. Things on earth are uncertain.

Transition phases

It’s often not until we go through a major transition phase – losing someone we love, moving countries, leaving a long term relationship, or letting old parts of us die – that we are faced with uncertainty.

Unanswered questions

Is it going to work? Where do you rest? What does it mean? How’s it going to be in the future? What’s our relationship going to look like?

All unknown. Questions that can’t be answered.

Nothing is set

uncertaintyIn these transition phases, nothing is set and things precisely need to remain fluid and in flux in order for something new to emerge. It’s akin to crossing the great waters. The ground is shifting beneath you, it’s time to move slowly and be fluid.

Grasping onto something

The problem is that your personality or ordinary mental consciousness doesn’t know how to do this. It doesn’t speak the language of uncertainty. It wants to grasp, label, define, determine, decide and make things solid.

Beginnings of a relationship

This can perhaps be witnessed most easily in the beginnings of relationships. One person may say, ‘let’s keep things fluid, not label what we have, not have any expectations’. Sounds good in theory, but usually sooner than later, the vulnerability of not defining things becomes uncomfortable, and the mind sets to the task of overriding uncertainty.

Precious opportunity

Often in life, it takes a lot to dispel the illusion of stability and certainty, so when it does, it’s a rare and valuable opportunity for growth and a change of perspective. Being in a space of opening, fluidity and uncertainty loosens up a particularly self-limiting rigidity that many of us carry on a deep level. It can allow us to move into a bigger part of ourselves, closer to who we really are.

Living with uncertainty

pier-lake-water-fog-black-and-white-hills-treesSo how do you move through such times? How do you learn to live with uncertainty?

Slowly and with grace and receptivity. So often we race ahead, second guess the future, base decisions on ‘certainties’ in our life. The other approach is to slow down, take your time, practice being totally present with what is happening in this moment, knowing there’s no guarantee of how it will turn out. This can be scary at first, but also incredibly invigorating.

Nothing to lose

One great thing about living with uncertainty is that you have less to lose. In reality, it’s terrifying believing that things will always be this way, or you’ll always be with this person, because it’s inevitably accompanied with what if it it changes?! or what if I lose them?!

In fact, these are two of the few guarantees we have – everything will change and you will lose things/people you love. Uncertainty strikes a cord at the heart of being human. It’s both daunting, and enlivening and liberating. What can you lose?

Opening to the extraordinary

spectacularly_extraordinary_photos_640_52Something you can’t see when you are living within the illusion of things being certain/lasting/unchanging – is that you are cutting yourself off from a whole range of possibilities beyond this box.

Living with uncertainty means opening yourself up to extraordinary things happening, things you couldn’t even imagine. You may think that by denying the uncertainty inherent in life, you’re protecting yourself from terrible things happening. In reality, it’s the opposite – you are unprepared for the inevitability of loss and change, and you’re preventing opportunities beyond your self-imposed limits.

So here’s to learning to accept, if not, embrace uncertainty. We all live with it so you may as well accept it and be prepared.

 

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