As we navigate through life, we are met with situations and circumstances that are beyond our control. Although most of us have, at times, tried to ignore or deny this simple truth, life experience necessitates that we eventually accept uncertainty as an undeniable certainty. This acceptance can spur feelings of hopelessness and despair, but it also has the power to encourage a simple beam of light, illuminating that which we do have control over.
RESPONDING TO UNCERTAINTY
The way in which we answer to uncertainty is, for the vast majority of us, entirely within our control. We can choose to react from a place of emotional distress and fear, or to respond from a place of inner reflection and calm. This is not always easy. Developing the ability to respond (versus react) may be extremely difficult, but, in my experience, it holds the key to inner freedom and collective peace.
There are many ways to develop one’s capacity to respond. The following is one suggestion:
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” - Viktor Frankl
During times of uncertainty it is very easy to lose touch with the things we are thankful for. It is helpful, even vital, to reconnect with our appreciation by cultivating a daily gratitude practice. This could consist of writing a list, or bringing to mind, all that we are grateful for. Maybe it is as simple as: “I am grateful to have a roof over my head, food in my stomach, and a mother who loves me”. Once your list is made, maintain the connection by coming back to it every morning upon rising and every evening before falling asleep.
In today’s world, our lives can easily become inundated with grisly news headlines, incessant social media rants, opinionated personality types, and unrelenting external negativity. As such, I think it is prudent to remind ourselves that, to a large extent, we can control the noise level within our own lives. For example:
Consider limiting or eliminating social media usage during times when you are faced with uncertainty.
Watch enough news to remain informed, then turn it off.
Balance negative news stories with positive ones (you may need to search through a few channels, but the positive stories are out there).
If possible, limit your time with aggressive or overly negative people.
You are a beautiful part of this intricate web of life and are deserving of all the love in the world. To remind ourselves of this is always within our control; so is the choice to develop self-care routines. Especially during times of uncertainty, choose to slow down both physically and mentally by taking a warm bubble bath or going for a nature walk, eating something that will make you feel good or finding solace in a connection with a higher power. From this place of self-love, we can choose to extend our kindness toward others. Maybe by reminding someone that they too are loved, or reaching out to a person in need through an act of kindness.
Developing calm amidst uncertainty is something we are all confronted with, regardless of social standing, race, gender, or age. The strength to see the light beyond the darkness is ultimately a personal journey, but remember we are in this together. As such, I leave you with a question:
“What if rather than being disheartened by the ambiguity, the uncertainty of life, we accepted it and relaxed into it?” - Pema Chödrön
Written By: Zoë Tomichich
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