When Faced With Uncertainty

The undercurrent of doubt is strong. Doubt takes you places that you don’t want to go, but sometimes can’t help going to. It whispers in our ear, “What if….,” “What if….,” “What if….,” It cycles a pattern, becomes a rhythmic drum beat. Doubt can chip away at our faith in humanity and our faith in just about anything or anyone. That’s what makes it dangerous. We can’t let strong currents of doubt numb us, or worse yet, drown us. Don’t let doubt pull you under.

“What if….” thoughts are normal as we weigh the odds. They can range in gravity from small to grand. “What if….”  thoughts are okay if they pass by us like waves. We acknowledge them, consider them, and move on. “What if….” thinking only becomes problematic when it morphs in chronic ripples of dread. A cycle that is stuck on repeat.  What if’s can stress us to the point of paralysis leaving us with the inability to respond or function. We don’t want to fall into a hopeless pit of worry.

In contrast to feeling anxiety and worry, we need to learn to tolerate some uncertainty in life. Worry is only one reaction to a challenging situation. There are other ways to respond as well. Another response to a “What if” scenario is to play it through in your mind. Every situation has more than one possible outcome. Imagine what could happen and how you would deal with it, and what resources and people you would have/need to help you. It’s also okay too to self distract – especially if you are waiting for “news” on a situation or condition. Go for a walk, listen to music, talk to a friend, read about a survivor who made it through what you may need to go through. Lift it up. Ask for strength. Reassure yourself that you are not alone.

Worry stems from an overwhelming feeling of powerlessness that has gotten stuck on rewind. We know that worry never solved nothin’. We need to shut down the replay and move forward the best that we can. One step at a time.

Going the Right Direction

Only you have to live with you. I remind myself of that when other people give me advice – i.e. – tell me what to do. And let’s face it, most of us really don’t like being told what to do by someone else. Because what’s right for you, may be wrong for me. And what’s right for me, may be wrong for you. Regardless of what anyone tells you, we have to decide for ourselves what is right for us.

So where is our moral compass for decision making? The right path has to do with perception. The problem is when our perception gets distorted by circumstance – when we can’t see the forest through the trees – and we feel hopelessly lost in it. Keep in mind, when you feel you are going the wrong way, you can always turn around a start up a new path.

To help focus, we can remember that happiness is subjective, so the road to happiness is also subjective. A good litmus test for making decisions on your journey derives from the Hippocratic oath of First, do no harm. I would add to that – First do no harm to yourself or to others. (We often forget the to yourself part.) Will what you decide be good for your health and good for the health of those around you?

What’s right for you may not be popular or understood by others. (No matter!)  Because people often say it’s okay to think outside the box. But when they are confronted by the outside box thinking, they don’t like it. At all. People will often yield to convention because it is familiar and comfortable. So be ready for all eyes on you when you are making a big change or big decision. Many will be eyes of judgment. Some will be eyes of understanding. Others will be eyes of admiration. Just don’t let any eyes change your “I” direction.

There is no “my way or the highway.” Because our roads and journeys are different. Ask and pray for guidance and assistance to keep going the right direction for you. Trust yourself.

Believe nothing just because someone else believes it. Believe only what you yourself test and judge to be true.” ~ Buddha