His 13 year old daughter comes home and announces that she is going to a co-ed party that is going to last until midnight. He is faced with what to do about this declaration and about his own feelings of uncertainty. Should I say no, you are too young for that. Is she too young for that? I feel really unsure about my decision. Why am I so uncomfortable? All these thoughts start eating away at his insides and his stress level goes up and he snaps at his wife who wants to know what to make for dinner. Sounds familiar?
In my article dated February 12, 2012, the second obstacle to creativity was the need for knowledge. I was writing about creativity, and now I am applying this concept to life in general. Take parenting as in the example above. Most parents face it at one time or another. It is uncharted territory especially if it is your first child. And even if it is not, every child is different and what worked with one may not work with another. However, with the second and consequent children, you can remember the feeling of uncertainty you experienced with the first one and that in itself is comforting (the memory that you have experienced this unease before). Some parents when faced with the unease of being a beginner may refer to how their parents dealt with them or imagine what they would have done. That gives them a sense of comfort.
Being a beginner is not easy and it is harder as you get older. One reason being that you expect to know more, after all, you are older. Yet, life always has a way of throwing you a curve ball, just when you think you have figured it all. This is what many of my seasoned clients who are losing a job feel like. I have not had to go on a job interview for 20 years, I’m not sure how to do that anymore. I’ve been an expert in my company and everyone knows me, I am nervous about having to prove myself to a new boss and a new company.
Then there are the really serious and not so positive new experiences, like waking up one day after losing a loved one, or hearing a serious health diagnosis, or finding out something unsettling about a loved one. These are the moments where we feel like our life experiences, education and knowledge, are failing us. We are exposed to the raw sensation of not having a clue and yet, the issue at hand may be demanding us to do something or act in a certain way and we are completely unsure about what or how or if it is the right thing to do.
What if as in the example of creativity, we allowed ourselves to get comfortable with the fact that we are a beginner at it? In other words, what if instead of fear, dread, or intimidation, we faced the issue with certainty of our own uncertainty and ignorance about the topic at hand?
Take the top example, if the father in this example just took a deep breath and thought: Wow, this is interesting. I have no idea what to do. I feel anxious, because I think my daughter is too young to be hanging out with teenage boys at a party. I feel like my baby is growing up too fast. I don’t want to be a strict parent, but I don’t want her to get hurt or exposed to stuff she can’t handle.
Notice how these thoughts are all leading into another similar thought. That is exactly what staying in uncertainty is all about. It is about staying in that place and clarifying your discomfort over and over again. It will calm you down, give you a sense of certainty about your own uncertainty. It will bring more light and clarity to your biggest fears. And in the end, it will allow you to communicate honestly, openly and without drama.
Our fear is getting stuck in the uncertainty, looking weak, or not succeeding. However, we do get stuck, look weak and not get what we want, when we either fight the uncertainty or give up and avoid moving forward. Surrendering to uncertainty is about admitting to being a beginner. It is refreshing to be around someone who is not arrogant or over confident, especially if that person happens to be our parent!
If you are going through uncertain times, dealing with situations that are making you feel uneasy, you may want to consider working with a spiritual life coach. Spiritual life coaching sessions are geared towards helping the client get comfortable with life’s many uncertainties by becoming confident that they can get through any situation even if they don’t know how. Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute coaching conversation to determine if you’d like to proceed with coaching.