We’re currently living in such uncertain times that many of us feel lost for not being able to control anything about our lives.
We live in a society that needs to have it all figured out, all the time. You need to know who you are, what you want, where you’re going. If you’re uncertain about something, then you’re perceived as weak, or lazy.
When faced with uncertainty, we tend to panic. And now, here we are: dealing with uncertainty regarding our jobs, our health, our freedom. Going to bed at night not knowing when we’ll be able to have a normal family gathering again, or travel to that destination we’ve been dreaming about for so long.
It got me thinking: maybe there’s a lesson behind all this madness.
Maybe we should learn to embrace uncertainty. Maybe we should learn to value everything we considered to be normal because we don’t really know what’s going to happen next week.
Learning To Sit With The Unpleasant Parts Of Life
Instead of rushing to find a solution, why don’t we just sit with whatever is disturbing us? Why don’t we learn to take our time, so we can be sure we’re making the right choices?
I believe the real strength lies in our ability to be with ourselves and let our body feel all the painful, uncomfortable emotions; not in “fixing the problem” as quickly as we can.
Emotions are not problems. They’re a natural response to the circumstances we’re experiencing. They’re not negative or positive. They just are. We can choose to feel them, embrace them and let them go, or we can choose to resent them and avoid them.
Embracing uncertainty is not about stopping our lives. It’s about making sure we’re giving ourselves the time and the space to see the situation from all possible angles, so that we can do what’s best for us.
“Vitally though, embracing uncertainty is not about failing to act at all. Another misuse of embracing uncertainty would be to use it as an excuse for apathy or avoiding doing anything. Instead it is about a commitment to act in the most thoughtful and kind way possible having given ourselves enough time to look closely at the situation.”
In uncertain times, anything can happen. Yes, things can get worse, but there’s also the possibility that they get better than ever — it all depends on our resilience.
Dealing with change, loss, or unpredictability is an inevitable part of life. How we deal with it is what truly matters. If we look at the people we consider to be the most successful, they all had tons of problems and challenges to overcome. They just chose to come out stronger on the other side.
In The Obstacle Is The Way, Ryan Holiday tells us how obstacles can even become something we embrace rather than avoid:
“The struggle against an obstacle inevitably propels the fighter to a new level of functioning. The extent of the struggle determines the extent of the growth. The obstacle is an advantage, not adversity. The enemy is any perception that prevents us from seeing this.”
Ryan uses the examples of people we all know: John D. Rockefeller. Thomas Edison. Margaret Thatcher. Samuel Zemurray. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Richard Wright. Jack Johnson. Theodore Roosevelt. Steve Jobs.
From imprisonment to economic disasters and debilitating illnesses, these men and women were forced to face incredible difficulties. Have they given up? No. They embraced their obstacles and allowed themselves to be transformed for the better.
Losing a job can be an opportunity to reconnect with what you really love to do. Finding out you have an illness can be an opportunity to listen to your body. Dealing with toxic family members can be an opportunity to let go of your trauma and reconnect with your true self.
And uncertainty can be an opportunity to go within and get in touch with what truly matters in life.
Uncertainty is uncomfortable because we’re used to control our environment. We love what’s stable, safe and predictable.
But life is not predictable. There will always be things we can’t control and circumstances we can’t get past. Embracing this uncertainty doesn’t mean we don’t experience sadness or distress; it simply means we choose to emerge even stronger than we were before.
There’s a world of possibilities out there waiting for us to see them.