Embracing the Ebbs and Flows of Uncertainty and Change
Today’s blog post is another guest post by Hannah Chapman, from our Nourishing Minds Tribe.
I was really naive in my sophomore year of college to believe that I had everything figured out, that I had already experienced all the difficult feats that made me who I am and it was smooth sailing from there. Now, as a senior in my last few weeks of undergrad with little to no idea what the future holds for me, I know better. I’ve learned that the only things that are certain in life are change and uncertainty and rather than fight against it, I’m learning to embrace it despite how difficult that may be.
As humans, we have a burning desire to have everything figured out. We want to know who we are, where we’re going, and what our plan is if things don’t work out as expected. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, though, it’s that life doesn’t come with instructions and we never know how to deal with things until we truly have to deal with them. I think there’s power in embracing uncertainty, choosing our humanity, and learning to release the need to have it all figured out. Because let’s be honest, none of us ever have anything truly figured out (and we never will), and that’s okay!
I understand that uncertainty is scary and change is crippling, yet they’re the only two things we can be guaranteed in life. Whether you’re 21 or 65, you’ll experience something that can’t just be “fixed.” Life ebbs and flows between periods of comfort and safety to those rampant with uncertainty and change. Rather than running and hiding from these periods of discomfort, what if we could lean into them? When we can make peace with uncertainty rather than resisting it with all our might, we make space to invite positive change into our lives and open up to possibility in the unknown. Though these times are certainly uncomfortable, they are integral for growth and if we allow it, we will be better as a result. If we invite the uncertainty in with nonjudgement and ease, we are better able to deal with whatever comes our way.
There’s no easy way to get comfortable with uncertainty, but there are definitely steps to take to dismantle its power over us. For one, we can start talking about it. Regardless of whether we’re about to graduate, enter motherhood, move to a new city, start a new job, or drop everything to travel the world, we experience a level of mystery in what we will encounter once we make the leap. It’s human nature to think that we are the only ones experiencing what we’re going through, but in reality we are never alone in what we are feeling. You are not the first one to feel lonely, uncertain, uncomfortable and resistant to change, and you certainly won’t be the last. Reach out to family and friends to discuss your experience, be honest about what you’re feeling, and understand that you’re truly alone..
Another valuable tool to navigating change is to shift your mindset around it. It’s easy to feel anxious and crippled by the multitude of options and outcomes, but rather than feeding into the negative dialogue, see the change as an opportunity. It’s easy to say and much harder to do, but shifting your feelings around change will allow you to enter your new reality with more ease. Rather than reacting to everything, you’ll be able to act and truly be present for what comes your way. By no means should you dismiss your feelings of discomfort and fear; when they arise I invite you to get curious and lean into them, but just notice and feel them rather than letting them consume you. Give yourself extra love during these times and know that even if it may not seem like it, things will get easier.
The last shred of advice I’ll offer to coping with uncertainty is to avoid the comparison trap. External appearance only reveals so much and it’s impossible to discern what someone is feeling or dealing with internally just by learning their circumstances. As cliche as it may sound, we are all on our own unique paths and we don’t need to follow the societal timeline to find happiness. We’re generally expected to go to school, get a job, get married, and have children by a certain age, and find ourselves comparing our lives to others’ and feeling like failures if we don’t match up. There is no right way to live life, there is no deadline to overcoming change, and veering from what is expected does not make you any less worthy. When we focus on ourselves and only worry about the things we can control and release all that we can’t, we are able to navigate change with ease and grace and take ownership of our circumstances, regardless of how uncertain they may be.
No matter where you’re at in life, I promise you that you will continue to be faced with periods of immense change and uncertainty, and that’s okay. The only thing we can truly be certain of is that our lives will never remain the same, regardless of how much we may want them to; there will always be something, big or small, that changes you in some way. Rather than being afraid, we can lean into these experiences and get curious about what they can teach us. In this way, we allow ourselves to grow, change, and open up to opportunity in the mystery of our circumstances. Life is beautiful even when it’s not and regardless of how uncomfortable it may feel now, remember that you’ve gotten through it before and you will again. Keep shining, keep trusting, and be with yourself on the journey. I promise it’s worth it.
Thank you so much for this beautiful blog post Hannah!