We all face uncertainties in terms of our relationships, our career, our future, our needs, desires and most importantly, our own selves. To be fair, each one of us are our own worst nightmares in so many prospects – whether it’s in terms of being our own inner critic leading to immense amount of self-doubt and self-criticism or whether it’s in terms of how we choose to deal with our emotions without actually giving any consideration to how we genuinely really feel. These uncertainties build up from our own insecurities and our own self-concept, it’s the way we choose to perceive the world, it’s how we focus on the concepts of social comparison instead of self-compassion which creates a drastic distinction between the two making us step into a feeling of nothingness and uncertainty.
This year itself has probably been one which has witnessed an increase in the amount of people experiencing this exact same nothingness and feelings of uncertainty. We are distant from the people we are close to, we are confined in our homes, we are burdened with an even higher intensity of guilt whether it’s in accordance to thoughts like “I’m not being productive, I am going to fail in life”, “I am so overworked but if I stop, I won’t succeed”, it’s almost like we’re putting ourselves through hell by worrying about our worry and stressing about our stress – this can be recognized as a unhelpful way to deal with our own thoughts which creates the way we choose to react to the uncomfortable and difficult situations in front of us.
Causes and Outcomes – when in a place of uncertainty
We believe the uncertainties build up from our external environment and while that may be true, it has a lot to do with ourselves. The truth is, there is always going to be uncertainty in some way or the other – we all have experienced it in some amounts in terms of ourselves, our relationships and our future, it doesn’t have to be related to a pandemic, it is probably the most realistic feeling to experience and despite that, we still give ourselves a hard time for it like it’s OUR fault. When we come across such uncomfortable situations, we either push them away or simply circle back over the same situation and thought, repeatedly leading us to feel completely helpless and paralyzed by it, almost like it’s the entirety, definition and truth of what we’re capable of and our life. Pause and think about a time when you probably engaged in one of the two and how it made you feel.
Did it make the uncertainty disappear? Did it make you feel more confident and in control? Or did it just lead to an intensive downward spiral which was almost self-defeating?
Our desperate need to gain control over the world and its happenings is like putting ourselves in a situation where we are bound to experience inevitable amounts of disappointments. We fail to give importance to being compassionate, to acceptance, to curiosity and to kindness – towards ourselves and as well as our difficult emotions and situations. We can’t possibly control what happens around us, but we can control how we respond to it in terms of our thoughts, emotions and actions.
To meaningfully act with compassion is not deluding yourself because of the circumstances you’re in but it’s to be aware of yourself, for better or for worse and being fully attuned to the world for the way it is in the present moment and diverting your attention towards the things you can do now, to just be in the moment amidst what’s lost.
How to NOT be paralyzed by uncertainties – Remedies
It all starts with us. Amidst multiple uncertainties, we must identify and understand ourselves and our emotions during this period, “what do I feel?” And “what do I want to do about that feeling?” We strive to control the things we can’t control, we strive to be a lesser version of somebody else because we are uncertain of who we are, we strive to desperately change our circumstances by disregarding our upsetting emotions – when all that is required to defeat the uncertainty from affecting us is to be more accepting of our emotions, both the pleasant and unpleasant ones and treat them with compassion and kindness.
To focus on the present moment and express gratitude towards all the things and people we are surrounded with is what will make each of us feel more at peace than intentionally putting ourselves through a situation we can’t control. Finding a way to express yourself can be challenging at first but to accomplish this in the most recommended way is through the process of journaling. When we begin to give words to our emotions, it helps in creating a safe space and reduces our stress levels, anxiety as well as prevents us from engaging in unhelpful behaviors. It’ll help us make sense out of all that each one of us are feeling and the overwhelming emotions this uncertainty has created within us – it’ll lead us to learn to create a distinction between the thinker and the thought, the feeler and the feeling and to look at the distressing situation from a new perspective, to unhook and move forward.
Practicing Mindfulness is another way to fight through our doubts and uncertainties – it is the act of consciously focusing on the present moment, without judgement or attachment. We have a tendency of diverting our attention towards aspects of our lives which we can’t control such as our past experiences and the idea of what our future holds for us. The truth is, none of us have any idea and we can’t possibly control what has happened or what is going to happen, dwelling on such aspects will only lead us to feel even more anxious and overwhelmed, it’ll lead us to experience mental exhaustion and fatigue which will be extremely difficult to bounce back from once you’re severely already in that cycle. When we are mindful, we are awake and alert, we are open to the fluidity of each moment as it arises and falls away.
We must continue to be hopeful – similar to how certain painful experiences in our life pass with time along with healing and growth, the uncertainty shall pass too making you feel more in touch with who you are empowering you into a better version of yourself.
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