Scared of the Unknown? Me too.
By: Emily Foley
At one point or another, we have all felt uncertain. Or, if you are like me, have felt uncertain during every waking moment of your life. It can be the uncertainty of a relationship. Sometimes it’s the uncertainty of a medical diagnosis. Maybe it is the uncertainty of layoffs at your place of employment. It could be the uncertainty of not knowing where you are going to live after graduation. And sometimes it is as simple as the uncertainty of what you are going to have for breakfast.
The unknown tends to rule our lives in more ways than one.
These consistent feelings of uneasiness can introduce us to a full-blown identity crisis. What will my life look like if I am no longer with my significant other? How will this medical diagnosis change the way I’m living my life? If I get fired, does this mean I’m not qualified enough for other employment opportunities? Will I still be a successful person if I choose one college over the other? What will my future self look like? And the most common question of them all: will it get better?
We are much greater than the uncertainties of our lives, and if there is one thing for certain, we will never truly know if something will turn out for the worse or for the better. There are a lot of things we do know, and there are a lot of things we don’t know. And that is okay. Being able to sit down, get comfortable, and look the unknown right in the eyes is one of the bravest things (in my opinion) that any human being can accomplish. I’m not asking you to be best friends with the unknown (who knows, maybe you will), rather, I’m asking you to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, face your fears, let go of that need to control all outcomes, and take back your identity. It’s all about making room for the stuff the scares us most and running with it.
Here are a few actions steps you can adopt to combat both the little and big uncertainties that life throws at you:
- Be kind to yourself. Sitting with the unknown is a stressful feeling and can lead us down rocky paths. Find some time to seek out patches of evenness where you can find your footing and enjoy the view.
- Take your own advice. If a friend sought out your advice, what would you tell them? It’s important to listen to the guidance we give others and apply this counsel to our own lives. (For more on this check out our previous “Advice I Give My Friends That I Should Listen To” posts!)
- Seek out support networks. It is always important to seek the guidance of others during times of uncertainty. This can be in the form of a family member, friend, professor, coach, significant other, a counselor, medical professional, or even your boss.
- Cultivate new skills. Explore new ways to cope with and understand your uncertainties. These can be things you have read online or from a blog. You can even discover new skills that are unique to you.
- Find boundaries for your control. As humans, we cannot control every aspect of our lives. Work on developing creative ways to prioritize the various avenues of your life.