How to Embrace the Unknown
July 13, 2017
When difficult moments present themselves and the outcome of situations are unpredictable, how do we deal with the uncertainty and fears that stem from them?
We all go through hard times — whether it’s losing a job, the passing of a loved one, or getting diagnosed with a scary illness. None of us are immune to life challenges, but we do have a say in how we experience them.
For most of us, the unknown is a frightening concept. We long for certainty and typically prefer situations that we’re familiar with — outcomes we can anticipate and plan for. But what do we do when we’re truly in the dark?
One thing to remember is that certainty is an illusion created by our minds. Even our happiest moments are impermanent (sorry, it’s true). But if we can train ourselves to focus on what is real in a given moment — a nice severance package, the love of family and friends, or a friendly nurse — we can allow ourselves to reside more in the present and resist diving into the fear of the future.
“We have a choice. We can spend our whole life suffering because we can't relax with how things really are, or we can relax and embrace the open-endedness of the human situation, which is fresh, unfixated, unbiased.” – Pema Chödrön
Visualization is also a great tool. In times of fear, try envisioning a positive outcome to a situation and focusing on that for a while. While we may not have full control over our circumstances, we can change how our bodies respond to them. And eliminating stress is good for everyone. Not to mention, by thinking positively, we might even start enacting the very steps needed for those positive results to happen.
It’s important not to deny negative feelings, though, for over time, if left buried, they may build up and erupt. By feeling fear and acknowledging it, we enable it to release from our bodies and our minds. And then once released, we can breathe a little deeper and sit a little calmer. Ultimately, by navigating road bumps in life with acceptance and patience, we can learn to take one day at a time and appreciate the moments we have to the fullest.
To learn more about how to embrace the unknown, check out one of our favorite experts and books here – Living Beautifully: with Uncertainty and Change by Pema Chödrön.
“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.” – John Allen Paulos