The feeling of uncertainty for many of us can be an overwhelming one. It comes up in all different forms and can be a daily struggle. Some examples of when we may face the feeling of uncertainty include (but are certainly not limited) to the following:
1. You have a loved one (or yourself) who has taken ill and you fear what the prognosis/outcome will be down the road.
2. You’re traveling to a new place and fear all of the possible things that could go wrong.
3. You’re in a job where on a daily basis you’re worried about losing it.
4. You fear leaving your current job to live your passion because you don’t know what that new path looks like.
Let me first say that when I speak of uncertainty I’m not talking about noticing that something could be a little scary and then moving forward. What I’m talking about is experiencing the fear of uncertainty to the point that it stops you in your tracks and/or it’s overwhelming and constantly on your mind. Having said that, I believe that there are some commonalities in the examples I list above and in all scenarios where uncertainty is at play. They include the following:
1. Not staying centered/grounded and focusing on living in the now.
2. Borrowing our future feelings (taking on the feelings of what “could” happen in the future.
A few days ago I read a great post written by someone I’d been following the last few weeks. Leo Babauta writes about living with Zen on his blog zenhabits. If you’re not a regular reader of his blog I highly recommend you check it out. Recently Leo wrote a post titled, “Finding Peace With Uncertainty”.
The piece is very well written (as all of his are) and walks through what he believes is the major obstacle for many people to overcome/surrender to uncertainty. Leo presents that the leading factor for those who struggle with uncertainty is the fear of change. In his article he lists some wonderful tips for working through your own struggle with uncertainty. He touches on other areas of focus but primarily believes that the answer to mitigating the obstacle of uncertainty is “becoming good at change”.
I think from a practical standpoint returning to our flexible nature is something we could all work on doing a bit more. However, I don’t believe that focusing on our flexible nature alone (ie; getting good at change) is the answer we seek. I believe that even if we’re more adaptable/accepting of change there is a deeper rooted issue that, given time, will resurface, and block us from fully surrendering to uncertainty.
From a young age many of us develop false beliefs that we carry well into adulthood. These false beliefs can include the feeling that we’re not good enough, that we’re not attractive, that we’re stupid, that we’re screw-ups, that we’re not lovable, and many others. Carrying these false beliefs with us or as I like to say, “seeing the world through our lenses of false belief” reshapes what uncertainty means to us. In fact, it’s the driving force behind why we struggle so much with uncertainty.
Uncertainty is a fear based feeling. In order to consume ourselves with uncertainty we need to leave our present life (all uncertainty exists in the future), allow our false beliefs to drive the meaning we apply to our thoughts and revel in those future feelings we borrow.
Here’s an example of living with uncertainty when one where’s their glasses of False Belief. In this scenario we’ll assume that this persons false belief is that they are not good enough.
Sarah loves making bracelets at home and has been told by many friends that she should start her own business. Sarah loves this idea as it’s her passion and working from home making bracelets means that she can not only do what she’s passionate about but also spend more time with her family. However, the feeling of uncertainty that overwhelms reminds her that she’s not good enough and convinces her that she wouldn’t be able to make it work. She begins to tell her self a story that it’ll never work because of this and that…so Sarah laughs the idea off as a “nice thought”. She doesn’t look into to seeing what it would take, doesn’t look at exactly how much money she would need to make, or do anything to actually start driving towards this goal. Unconsciously she reminds herself that the reason uncertainty exists and is so powerful (to stop her from pursuing her dream) is that she’s not good enough to do this. She’s been told her whole life she’s not good enough and this would just be another reminder to that false belief.
Now if we assumed the same scenario except that Sarah now sees her life through her IQ Lenses (through her Authentic Inherent Nature) she would acknowledge that this is not only a good idea but the right idea. She may experience some mild anxiety about “changing” and doing something different but it would not stop her in her tracks. She knows that she is creative, flexible, passionate, GOOD ENOUGH, and intelligent. She knows that even though it will be challenging, she is just as capable as any other person who’s actually done this.
This is just one example of how becoming aware of how we see ourselves and the world around us can impact our ability to surrender to uncertainty. Uncertainty can be something that is noticed and acknowledged. It can be something that we feel safe in knowing all the things that are inherently true about us. On the other hand, not being aware that we carry these false beliefs only fuels the fire of uncertainty to the point that it literally stops us from living. We leave the present moment (our life) to focus on the unknown and in our minds predict that the outcome of that unknown will be based totally on our false beliefs.
Until we become aware enough to know what our false beliefs are and understand when we’re using them we’ll continue to live in a state of conditioned response. We’ll make decisions based on our false beliefs, literally, without even knowing it. The next time the feeling of uncertainty shows up do the following:
1. Acknowledge that feeling of fear is there.
2. Point (physically) to where in your body you’re feeling that feeling.
3. Give your body room and space to hold that feeling, taking in deep and slow breaths.
4. Ask yourself what false belief may be in your mind that’s fueling this fear.
This is not a complete approach to resolving this false belief (I’ll write more about that later). Rather, I want us to start becoming aware of the fuel that is igniting our fire of fear. Awareness is the first step in making any change. While learning to adapt to change and return to our flexible nature is important, I believe we cannot fully embrace our Authentic Self without first being aware of that our Authentic Self exists.
With gratitude and appreciation,