How do you feel about change and uncertainty? The truth is that there is nothing more constant in life than change, and with change comes uncertainty.
Most of us find that keeping things the same is comfortable and easy, as it helps us maintain a sense of well-being. However, change happens whether we want it or not, even though we don’t know how the outcome will affect our lives. Since change and uncertainty are inevitable, the better we can learn to navigate it, the more harmony we will have in our day-to-day life.
There have been many events in history that have shocked our very foundation, leaving us feeling like we have lost our footing. What we are living with right now is no different. History shows us that we will find our way through, but as of now, we have no idea how this pandemic may be resolved. Just like the other events from history, it may change who we are and how we look at the world.
So, if you are feeling uncertain right now, you are not alone. Everyone is making difficult decisions as we weigh the risks associated with each new decision. For some it is returning to work or deciding if or when kids should go back to school, learning a new job, or early retirement. There are also choices to be made as we go about our personal lives while keeping ourselves and others safe.
The circumstances of our lives are changing regularly and sometimes every day. When the answers are not clear or the path straight, it is hard to deal with life. The better we are able to manage and deal with life’s uncertainties the more we will experience well-being. It's fair to say that the pandemic has caused all of us to change how we do almost everything and learning to live when life is not predictable is essential to our mental health.
Learning to live with uncertainty and change is a constant we all live with. Even though it is part of our life, it is hard to feel secure when there is so much we don’t know. It is our nature to resist the unknown and when we do that, it causes suffering. To increase our well-being we must learn to live with what we don’t know.
Just like you, I have had many experiences learning to navigate life when nothing is for sure. I have had many years of practice and I have learned not only from my own experience but also from my clients. Here are a few ideas that can help you learn to stay positive.
- Focus on what is in front of you. Too often we find ourselves thinking about the past or the future when our attention needs to be in the present.
- Practice flexibility with every situation. The more flexible you can be in your thoughts and actions the better able you are to adapt to any situation.
- Identify any negative thoughts you have and re-frame them into a positive statement.
- Become curious about situations in your life that go differently than you planned. Could this lead you in a new direction or a spark of possibility that you could not see before?
- Hindsight is 20/20 so resist the temptation to punish yourself for what you did or didn’t do.
- Call to mind the qualities that help you through hard times.
But I think the single most important thing to know in your head and believe in your heart, is that you are way more resilient and capable than you realize. You can and should trust yourself to make good decisions for yourself and know that you will do the best you can with what you know at the time.
I know that you have weathered many storms in your life and have come out on the other side better than you were before. As much as we may not like change and uncertainly, it offers us a gift that shows us just how resilient, strong, and wise we really are. During this time be gentle with yourself and allow grace to wash over you and guide your days.