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Uncertainty is unpleasant, but we need to create room for it

Leaving room for uncertainty means alternative possibilities when things take an unexpected turn
Leaving room for uncertainty means alternative possibilities when things take an unexpected turn. (Photo credit: Mohamed Hassan/pxhere)

Elvenia Gray-Sandiford

The New Year induces a sense of excitement for many, but for some of us it brings with it a sense of uncertainty.

Though we all have to deal with some level of uncertainty, most of us would prefer to predict and plan what will happen throughout our day. Sadly — or maybe gladly — we do not experience life that way all the time. Think how boring that would be!

It can be difficult for some people to not have a plan. When we are unsure of our situation, we sometimes feel as if we are heading towards the worst possible scenario. We have the power to view our situations — yes, even the ones we are uncertain of — from multiple perspectives. This is where perception is crucial. Instead of being fearful, let’s reframe it to being curious.

Despite the fact that every person experiences uncertainty differently, if you are like me it can quickly get to the point of being internally overwhelming and crippling. Because it is based in fear, I will begin to feel the emotions prompted by these thoughts. I have to monitor my thoughts very purposefully, and very intentionally respond to the feeling of uncertainty.

If we regularly feed our attention with negative thoughts that our uncertain situation will not go well, these negative thoughts will manifest negative emotions in our bodies. We may start to feel down, anxious, discouraged, and even depressed. Our body reacts by slumping the shoulders, projecting little confidence.

But if we engage with more empowering thoughts, like seeing uncertainty as an opportunity to be curious and excited about what is to come, that will boost our confidence and manifest a more positive emotional state. Our body reacts by standing up straight, energized and optimistic.

Anxiety is by far one of the most common psychological responses to uncertainty. When we worry, we put ourselves in a state of panic. Our body reacts by hyperventilating, shaking, and sweating uncontrollably. As human beings, we find it easier to mentally check out when we feel uncomfortable with uncertainty.

We can open our minds to a world of possibility that things will work out as they should. This can help us to break out of the view of who we are supposed to be and what life is supposed to look like. We can transform into appreciating who we really are and what life actually is.

With that comes the freedom and empowerment of really being a more authentic version of ourselves. It is important for us to learn to deal with both expected and unexpected changes over the course of our lives. This helps us to cope with the transitions and understand coping strategies used to improve and help build self-resilience.

We understand others better, the more we grow to understand ourselves. We are powerful beyond measure, and we contain much more flexibility and adaptability than we think. We will not find our true measure of strength if everything is planned and laid out for us.

Without challenges and stretches, we remain in the dimension of potential and never become kinetic. We will not access our courage and strength. Uncertainty is unpleasant, but it is a part of life. Even when we think everything is on the right path, leaving room for uncertainty means alternative possibilities when things take an unexpected turn.

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