Living with Uncertainty

Whether we want to face it or not, change is inevitable. Just as change is bound to come, so is the uncertainty that follows. Uncertainty is uncomfortable and strange because we are in unfamiliar territory and have no clue what will come next. The good news is we can see uncertainty as a recognizable stage in moving from the familiar to the unknown and then to where you are supposed to be. Even if the change was somewhat anticipated, there is often a sense of loss. Without being able to rely on the familiar, we may feel out of control. This is what causes the uncertainty and makes you question whether the change is really what should happen or it is best to stay with familiar situations.

What tends to come next is a feeling of discomfort, uneasiness, and even anxiety. This is the critical phase in which you must make a decision on whether to retreat back in fear or move on to the next stage. If you go through the change, you will eventually gain insight and understanding of why it was necessary. The point being that having a sense of what to expect and understanding the process and emotions, even if they are uncomfortable, is normal and will keep you moving in the right direction. Ultimately, the reason for change will be made clear and a sense of control will again be restored. So now the question becomes, how do you live with what you do not yet know? The tips below will help with dealing with the uncertainty.

Uncertainty is Certain

There is nothing in life that does not have a bit of uncertainty attached. Sometimes, the uncertainty can stick around for quite a while before resolving. You can never know how everything will unfold, even when you feel totally sure about the outcome. People tend to get caught up in things lasting forever, but most times they do not. Being aware that change may occur can help you cope when they do. This does not mean living in fear of things changing and ending, but being prepared that it is a possibility. This can leave you more flexible and resilient when a change occurs.

Focus on What You Can Control

Even when change and uncertainty come, there are parts of life that will remain reliable and stable. Identify the aspects you have control of and use them to build the rest of your life around, like a framework. Establish a daily routine that helps you move through a day. Using these habits will help you feel grounded when other things change. The routine is a safety net that will help you keep from feeling like you are in a freefall. In addition to a routine, create moments that bring you joy and happiness. There is no point in sitting around terrified of what may change in the future. The future will sort itself, so stay positive that all will work out.

Embrace the Possibilities

Sometimes change and the outcomes of that change are specific, but often, change brings out opportunities and options. Suspend your expectations because being too specific about what should happen is rarely realistic. When you expect a particular outcome, you are setting yourself up for disappointment and frustration when they work out differently. When you open yourself up to many possibilities, you prevent attachment to a narrowly lived life. As you open up to new possibilities, you are also exploring new aspects of yourself.

Watch Your Thoughts

Thoughts are things, not inherently good or bad. They are neutral in themselves, but the emotions you attach to them will determine how you feel about a given situation and your overall reaction. We are often programmed to feel a certain way because we have seen others express certain emotions in a similar situation. Some people see change and uncertainty as an opportunity to embrace, while others view it as a challenge to overcome. Still others may see it as a catastrophe that must be avoided. We must remember that emotions and reactions are different things. Acknowledge your feelings, but keep them at a realistic level. There is no point in making yourself sick over an outcome that is only imagined. If it helps, consider the worst-case scenario and how you would get through it, then know you can survive, even if the worst happens.

Don’t Let Fear Take Control

Fear is a loaded term that carries great weight in our psyche. Sometimes, even the idea of fear can leave us mentally uncomfortable and emotionally, physically, and psychologically destroyed. However, fear is a normal emotion that serves as a protective mechanism. It is what we assign to it emotionally that makes it larger than life. Fear can be paralyzing is you allow it to rule your life. It can cause us to stop trying, achieving, or changing. If you avoid all fear, you will also deprive yourself of many experiences. Fear of the uncertain prevents us from living fully because we simply exist. You may feel secure, but life becomes boring.

Surround yourself with those who are supportive and caring when change and uncertainty comes. As you wait for things to calm down, reduce your stress levels through meditation, self-care, and fun or creative projects.

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