• stefanieschissler

Embracing Uncertainty

Aktualisiert: 11. Nov 2018

Are we able to do so?

Photo by me

These days I am in a state of absolute uncertainty - I wouldn’t even call it flux yet - and I have found the term embracing uncertainty a good one to describe my mood to others. At the same time I am doubting if this is more of a desire than my actual reality. And even more, I’m wondering if is it possible to embrace the feeling of uncertainty after all.

Trying to embrace it is at least what seems to make most sense. What feeds fear is panic, so wild apprehension is probably not the best idea. Panic speeds up thoughts and the urge to make decisions fast, when decisions are the one thing that seem to be unattainable. What unclear situations rather need, is calmness and being in ease. As much as I wished it to, what doesn’t work for me is the universal piece of advise to ‘just breathe’.

Breathing is usually a great idea but not when you have the feeling that the air around you is poisoned with anxiety that nurtures your inner demons. What does help though, is to step out of your narrow vision and put your situation into perspective. Psychologists say you are not your emotions and neither are you your feelings! Nevertheless they are a gigantic force, yet so unpredictable, that can put you from the biggest wave of enthusiasm to utter despair. Which is why I find it helpful to understand the cause, situation or circumstances that have led to certain feelings. It’s no coincidence that reason is part of the word reasonable and as for many situations, also for uncertainty it helps to understand the underlying factors and it’s the reasons that make it more reasonable.

So how might we truly embrace uncertainty? Happy are the ones that can rely on their long-term optimism. Admittedly, on good days I am able to do that better than on bad ones, but somehow I have managed to never lose it completely, which in return turns it into save ground for me. Somehow my go-to place when every other place in my mind seems unbearable. Long-term optimism means for me that I can rely on the belief that everything will be fine, without the urge to know exactly when or what steps need to be undertaken to get there. It is the sheer confidence in a positive future, in yourself and that you have deserved to eventually be in a good place. It is also the trust in fate and that the right actions from myself and others. Finally, it is also the gratitude towards life itself and the understanding that happiness is not the one thing to strive for. It’s live with all facets, where happiness needs sadness to thrive and joy co-exists with pain.

You can always take bad times as just bad times and get lost in trials and tribulations - or you can chose to see them as opportunities to learn valuable lessons and to achieve personal growth.  I believe that one of the main purposes of life is to grow and that every struggle offers broader perspectives and a way towards better (without saying that sole better is the thing to strive for - I’d rather be leaving the definition of better up to you). As a great quote from philosopher William James says: ‘The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.‘ I know that the way towards this is hard and long, but I also believe that to becoming more aware of ones attitudes is already the first step into the right direction.

To come back to my original question, can we embrace uncertainty, I would argue that we can, if we can learn to see uncertainty as a good fortune rather than a big bad beast that is going to catch us and eat us alive. Uncertainty is an essential part of live - it’s what keeps it exciting and paves new ways for us to mature. It sparks creativity and if you manage to tame it, you will affect the ones around you and can support others in their journey which is beautiful and fulfilling in itself.

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