Getting Comfortable with Uncertainty.
“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security”-John Allen Paulos
It’s interesting how until Corona came knocking at our very own back door, it was easy to deny our vulnerability to its’ effects. Despite the data pointing toward a worldwide pandemic, when the outbreaks are occurring in a foreign country, the threat seems exactly that: foreign. Living in ignorance seemed like bliss, until what felt like in a split second, our daily lives drastically changed, and we are sitting here (literally, sitting), trying to make sense of it all.
To continue to function in the face of danger, our human defense mechanisms often times kick in, shielding us from the crippling anxiety we would experience if we actually let ourselves feel the imminent threat we are facing. By telling ourselves that “it won’t happen to us”, this allows us to live our lives as we planned, under the illusion that we are in control of what will happen next month, next week, or even tomorrow.
It is humbling, and at the same time, frightening to realize you are not in control. That the wedding that you've been planning for months gets cancelled and there is nothing you can do to change that. Or suddenly you find yourself without a monthly income and your plan of putting a down payment on a house suddenly vanishes into thin air. We like to think and feel that we are in control of our futures. Our “I have this under control” attitude, gives us a feeling of security. But that’s really all that it is, a FEELING of security.
This might sound like a pessimistic rant, but the intention behind it is exactly the opposite. When we can ACCEPT that we are not in control, we set ourselves free. This is not an invitation to adopt a completely passive attitude and let the world around you occur without assuming responsibility. We can still put out the effort required to make our circumstances as optimal as they can be, given the unknown nature of our environment. We can do this by working on ourselves, not our surroundings.
We cannot change the spread of the virus, but we can strengthen our minds and bodies during this time so that we are less susceptible to falling ill. We cannot change the uncertainty of the situation or know when the economy will accelerate again, but we can ground ourselves and find peace from within amongst the chaos of the times. We can accept the worry and the fear we feel; welcoming it with compassion, giving it space in our lives, but not succumbing to it. We can allow ourselves to surrender to the unknown, looking toward it as an exciting opportunity to embrace new experiences and change.
The wedding you planned might not be exactly as you expected it, and you might lose your dream house for now, but what you will gain is an ability to face life with flexibility and openness, rather than rigidity and fear.