Enduring Uncertainty And Learning To Love Fear. Uncertainty is part of life. But hardly anything is as unbearable for us. Knowledge is power, they say. But not knowing something, not knowing the outcome, being anxious for days, nights – that can be extremely agonizing and blocking.
Uncertainty, i.e. not knowing what will happen in the future, is very stressful for most people. It leads them to feel insecure and stressed.
Such uncertainty can not only paralyze and frighten people but even make them ill. It is often a precursor to mistrust and discontent. This makes it all the more important that we learn to endure uncertainty and live with it.
Will the family stay healthy, will schools and restaurants remain open? Corona has taught us how little that has so far been taken for granted can last. But even without a pandemic, we live in uncertain times. Lifelong employment has become a rarity in companies. Precarious working conditions are increasing, as are divorce rates. While there are many more choices than there used to be, there is also more uncertainty.
Accepting uncertainty: Why is this so difficult for us?
Nobody knows the future. It is just that: uncertain. A right decision today can turn out to be wrong in the course of the years and vice versa. The chosen profession or employer can make you happy and satisfied in the long run, a relationship can last for the next years and decades. But things can also turn out differently. No one can give you a guarantee.
So trying to avoid uncertainties is about as effective as a two-day traffic circle. Basically, we all know that. Nevertheless, many people find it difficult to come to terms with uncertainty, accept it, and to embrace it. But why?
We all love facts. Hard, irrefutable facts that we can count on and rely on at any time. They make life easier, more plannable, and more predictable. Free from unpleasant surprises. There is a net with a double bottom. At least in theory.
Enduring Uncertainty And Learning To Love Fear. Habits, routines, and proven facts give us something to hold on to. They act like guidelines that can show us the way. We get the feeling of control over our own life situations.
On the one hand, this is a pure illusion. But even this conceit is enough to satisfy the deeply anchored need for security in humans. A breath of cuddly blanket blows around us. We want to feel comfortable in our own skin, to be able to act in a self-determined manner, to bear responsibility for our actions and the associated consequences – as long as we know and can control them.
Uncertainty only gets in the way of these desires. Suddenly, we are supposed to resign ourselves to not being able to influence things and having to relinquish control. Especially for people with a strong need for control and high fear of failure, this is hardly possible.
The worst thing about it: Because they hate uncertainty, they settle for permanent dissatisfaction. They would rather accept the lousy status quo than dare to try something new.
Learn to appreciate and embrace uncertainty as an opportunity
Face the feeling with more openness. Trading freedom for security is, of course, only one way of coping with insecurity. Probably not the best one, and one in which society is always likely to lose in the long run. After all, nothing is as certain as the next uncertainty. Desperate, isn’t it?
The crucial thing is not only to connote uncertainty negatively but to realize that this is a basic condition of human life, which also enables richness, diversity, and difference. It also enables us to take pleasure in spontaneous action in shaping our own lives, that’s why I would always like to plead for seeing this side of insecurity and not always lamenting it. You can’t have freedom if you’re not also willing to accept a certain amount of uncertainty.
Enduring uncertainty: Learning to deal with it
Can you accept uncertainty and, despite occasional doubts, say: Oh, what the heck? I’ll go for it anyway…? Then you are one of the lucky ones who have learned the right way to deal with uncertainties and fears about the future.
Unfortunately, not everyone is like that by a long shot. A large proportion of people continue to find it difficult to let go. They still try to control as much as possible in their lives.
Yet this is precisely the key to dealing better with uncertainties: Learning to let go. And those who want to learn to let go need two things above all: Confidence and realistic optimism.
Both can be learned – and over time lead to noticeably higher self-confidence. Three steps are essential:
Accept the risk.
Dealing with uncertainty in the right way starts with your attitude. If you notice that you are letting uncertainty block you, make yourself aware that there is always a residual risk. Doubt should not stop you from acting and deciding confidently but only encourage you to think about a possible plan B in advance.
Get out of your comfort zone.
In your own comfort zone, you feel well taken care of, safe and secure. However, you will never learn the right way to deal with uncertainty there, simply because you are not directly confronted with it. Only when you venture out of your comfort zone will you realise that the dreaded uncertainty is not as scary as you always feared.
Don’t overthink it.
Uncertainty can also be managed if you simply plunge right into it. This may be shock therapy, but the effect is usually very quick. Instead of getting bogged down in all the possibilities, weighing up the possible pros and cons for ages, just take the plunge, decide from your gut and act spontaneously.
Enduring Uncertainty And Learning To Love Fear. In conclusion, Many people prefer to move along familiar paths. Their need for control is strong. Be aware that you need a new attitude towards uncertainty and more flexibility to successfully face an unknown situation. It is not always easy to get involved in an unknown environment. But this is exactly the prerequisite for dealing with uncertainty and becoming more courageous.