You’re always going to have uncertainty in your life – particularly when it comes to dating and relationships. Does he like me? Will this lead to something? Am I in the right relationship? Is this going to stay for the long run? You could drive yourself crazy with questions and ultimately, it’s just impossible to know the answers. Uncertainty is a part of life so – whether you like it or not – you have to learn how to become comfortable with uncertainty. I know this can be easier said than done, so let’s work through the process together…
Why Uncertainty Can Be a Good Thing
Before we get into how to become comfortable with uncertainty, it’s a good idea to think about how it can actually be a good thing. There’s a quote I really like from Many Hale,
“When nothing is certain, anything is possible…”
And it’s true, right? Instead of seeing uncertainty as this CURSE, try viewing it with the fact that this is giving you options. Your path is still being carved, and that’s kind of exciting right?
See, it’s not so much uncertainty itself that scares you, but whether or not the thing that you want, will happen. For this reason, uncertainty only really becomes an issue when something matters to you. When you think the outcome will control your happiness and if XYZ happens it will mean one thing, but if that doesn’t, it will mean another – and that’s what gets to you.
You then crave the reassurance or security that the outcome will be a good thing, it won’t result in pain. But unfortunately, we can’t always get these guarantees. So what can you actually do?
Think About Your Options…
Uncertainty really is inevitable. You can’t get away from it and you can’t escape it. If you think about your options – what can you do about it in most situations, really? I mean, two things I suppose:
- Stay in the situation you’re currently in, despite the uncertainty around what will happen.
- Take the uncertainty away by removing yourself from that situation. But are you really better off for it?
Let’s say you’re dating someone, and it’s going well, but you know they’re dating multiple people and you’re scared you’ll invest all this time into them, only for them to decide you’re not for them. If you walked away – walked away from the person, the opportunities and the uncertainty – sure, you’d remove questions around how they actually feel or what’s going to happen. But you won’t take away the “what if”, the what could have been or might have happened if you’d had the courage to stay and see it through.
You need to embrace the unknown and become comfortable with uncertainty so that you take away its power.
Running away doesn’t solve anything. Shifting your perspective and changing the way you see something, does. Otherwise – every time you find yourself in a similar situation, you won’t be able to deal with it, and that’s going going to stop you from growing.
I Know It’s Hard Feeling Uncomfortable
It’s hard to become comfortable with uncertainty because – when something matters to you and you don’t have the answers or security you need – it can feel like it’s literally tearing you apart. But think about it,
Anticipating the worst case scenario isn’t protecting you. It’s just making you live through the outcome before it’s happened.
And I know, you could argue “But if I don’t anticipate it – it’s going to knock me for six if / when it actually happens.” Sure, it could. That’s actually why uncertainty is there – to make you prepare. It’s therefore good to be aware of the ‘risks’ but being focused on them is actually only more likely to make them to happen, because it changes the way you act and makes you live in this negative state of fear.
Also, if you think about it, if the thing you DON’T want to happen, happens – what good does it do, with you “seeing it coming”? Again, you’re then just experiencing it twice. Would it not be better to live in the moment and enjoy where you’re at right now?
Let’s go back to the dating example again. In this situation, you don’t know what will happen with this person. Not only do you not know if this person you’re catching feelings for will ultimately end up wanting to be with you, but let’s not forget – you also don’t know if you’ll decide they’re the right person for you. You’ve got close, you feel that connection, you don’t want it to go, I get it. But if you can just enjoy what you have with them right there and then, you’re actually going to give the two of you a far better chance.
And let’s say it doesn’t go the way you anticipated or hoped… at least you then had those good times with them as you started to get to know them. It’s okay if it doesn’t work out, that’s what you need to remember. In fact, click on through here to read this post about it. It will completely change the way you look at dating and relationships.
See, We Can’t Control Every Aspect Of Our Lives, But Would We Really Want To?
I know you’re hating on uncertainty right now, and – trust me – I completely understand why. But think on the flip side. If you had your life mapped out, with each path leading EXACTLY the way you wanted it to, would that even be better? Initially you may be like, great… this is awesome. But after a while, life would get so predictable, it would become boring.
Sometimes the things you don’t want to happen NEED to happen, and you then look back and are THANKFUL that they did. Because although it may not have been what you wanted in that moment, it will work out for the best and you’ll be able to see that when you look back. (Hindsight is a funny thing!)
See, we are constantly learning, growing and evolving. What we think we want, we may not actually want as we step into the next stage of our life and the next version of us. So sometimes, the outcome of uncertainty – although it’s not what we anticipated – is for the best.
Not knowing what’s going to happen, is therefore a good thing. It’s there to help us. You just have to trust the process and see that each experience is shaping you.
Uncertainty Makes You Grow
Uncertainty gives you the discomfort you need to address the things you need to. For instance, let’s go back to the dating situation – you feel uncomfortable because you don’t know if the person you like, is going to want to be with you. This isn’t a good feeling. It makes you question yourself, brings all these insecurities to the surface… but that’s the thing, they were always there, just simmering below.
If you then use uncertainty to better understand yourself as a person, it actually gives you opportunities to work on the things you need to and come out far stronger and happier for it. So it’s through discomfort and suffering that we grow stronger… Which isn’t so bad, right?
How To Become Comfortable With Uncertainty
Hopefully the above will have started to shift your outlook around uncertainty. But what else can we do to become comfortable with uncertainty? Well, first off, I want to share my three step process:
STEP 1: Address The Thing You’re Scared Of
When it comes to the specific situation that you feel uncertainty around, get clear on what you’re AFRAID of happening and then work through it. Ask yourself:
- Okay so if this happens, what will it mean?
- Why does this fill me with so much dread?
- What is it about this outcome that I find so difficult or confronting?
- How would this outcome make me feel? And are those feelings justified?
- Are there any limiting / negative beliefs attached to this outcome, and what it means, that I could work through now?
- What will I do if this outcome does happen?
This leads me onto my next point…
STEP 2: Prepare For What You’re Afraid Of
Have a little plan in place for what you will do in any given situation: know how you’ll cope if the things you don’t want to happen, do happen. You don’t need to map out a 20 page document with diagrams and calculations. Nothing like that! You should just briefly know in your head, what you’ll do if – worse case scenario – that thing does happen. But then, PUT IT TO BED!
This brief little plan should give you a little confidence. It should show you that – although it’s not ideal – you will be okay. You have that as a backup. You have that in the back burner. So that’s all you can do. You don’t need to think anymore about it, scrutinise over anything else. Just use it as a little confidence crutch and then take everything that happens, in its stride, knowing that you WILL be okay, no matter what the outcome.
STEP 3: Take Power Away From Your Fears
So you’ve got clear on what you’re afraid of, you’ve identified and worked through any limiting beliefs that may be making them bigger or scarier in your head. You’ve also made a few different plans to feel prepared for whatever outcome happens.
The last stage is to then realise that the “worst case scenario” doesn’t have to be as bad as you think. Again, I want you to ask yourself:
- What’s so bad about this? Really?
- How could this be a blessing in disguise?
- What could I gain from this? Learn from this?
- What are the hidden benefits? How will this shape me?
Final Suggestions For Dealing With Uncertainty
Some last tips for how to become comfortable with uncertainty?
- Get Into The Habit of Pushing Out Of Your Comfort Zone: We don’t like uncertainty because of our fears, right? So if you want to become more comfortable with uncertainty, you have to get used to it. It may be in different situations, but this all pulls together to give you the strength you need when you need it. Try doing more things that make you feel uncomfortable, because in the process of overcoming them, you will realise that the feeling isn’t so bad, and it is more manageable.
- Develop Your Emotional Resilience: Start here, learn these strategies to become more emotionally stable. It’s not about what happens, but learning how to deal with whatever comes your way. If you have the mental strength to know you can get through anything, uncertainty becomes that little less daunting, because you know – ultimately – you will be just fine.
- Get Out Of Your Head: When you’re focused and so ‘in’ on a situation, that’s when things start to take over and the uncertainty of it all becomes unbearable. For this reason, it’s good to take a step back, regroup. Get out in nature, phone a friend, help a family member with something they’re struggling with, connect with other people. Helping others actually really helps yourself because it puts your problems into perspective and removes the intensity around whatever’s on your mind.
- Focus On Self Care: In fact, I’m going to make things super easy with this one and challenge you to try our 30 Day Self Care Challenge. This will get you into the habit of doing small things daily to support your mental wellbeing – which is just what you need for dealing with uncertainty!
- Use Affirmations: Keep reminding yourself that you’re strong, confident, beautiful. Push positive messages through your head, telling yourself that you will be okay regardless of what happens. These affirmations are like your inner cheerleader, spurring you on and telling you the things you need to keep in the forefront of your mind when self-doubt slips in. Click here to learn more on affirmations and how they can help you.
I think that’s plenty for you to get cracking with for now. I really hope this helps. Subscribe to our blog below and I’ll pop you an email with any follow-up posts that will support you on your journey. Remember,
“Embrace uncertainty because some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives, won’t have a title until much later…”
Take care. Stay strong. Be positive.