It’s fantastic to have goals and ambitions—encouraging, even, when you feel as if you’re steering your life in the direction that you see fit—but sometimes the pressure to plan certain aspects of your life can put too much pressure on you, not to mention those around you. While feeling uncertainty can be stressful, I want to emphasize that being unsure is okay.
It’s interesting how some people subscribe to the notion that you should be married by this age and have your first child by that age. Where do these “timeline deadlines” come from, and what can we do as a society to render them unnecessary? Again, planning for your future is great, but it’s unrealistic to expect to “get all your ducks in a row” when some ducks haven’t even hatched.
Open Your Mind to Your Options
Allow me to share a story that helps illustrate my point. About a decade ago, one of my friends once called me in a panic, sharing the news that her daughter had no idea what major she wanted to pursue in college. Should she allow her daughter to enter her freshman year—gasp!—undeclared? It’s as if there was a stigma attached to that decision, which was unfortunate. As I had gently explained to my friend, there was nothing wrong—nothing wrong—with her daughter’s uncertainty. In fact, I suggested, perhaps it was a blessing because then she could explore her options upon enrolling in a wide variety of classes.
A semester came and went. And then another. During that time, my friend’s daughter had the opportunity to take quite a few interesting classes in communications, economics, biology, and history before discovering an interest in anthropology. That interest quickly developed into a passion. She declared her major, earned her degree, and nowadays, she’s a leader in her field.
The Beauty of Uncertainty
Friends, there is beauty in being unsure. Perhaps you’re reading this post right now and wondering about all the uncertainties in your life—where you’ll work, where you’ll live, with whom you’ll live . . . some of these “unknowns” may seem a bit scary or intimidating, but I’m confident that all the pieces of your puzzle will fall into place. Part of this has to do with trusting yourself enough to know that you’re bound to figure things out and that many of the answers will reveal themselves in time.
You’re bound to make mistakes along the way—for example, maybe you’ll decide to take a job that turns out to not be a good fit—but mistakes are part of the routine twists and turns that we all experience in life. In many cases, mistakes even help us get to where we want and need to be. Yes, maybe you take a job that isn’t for you, but perhaps it’s through that job that you meet someone who eventually helps you land an interview for your dream job. I speak from experience when I say that planning and being certain about some things in life can be beneficial, but some of the best moments we experience and opportunities we receive in life happen when we least expect them to.
Dealing With Uncertainty
According to HelpGuide.org, an independent nonprofit that offers free mental health education and support, one way to cope with feelings associated with being unsure involves living in the present moment. In a blog post titled Dealing With Uncertainty, authors Lawrence Robinson and Melinda Smith write, “One of the surest ways to avoid worrying about the future is to focus on the present.
Instead of trying to predict what might happen, switch your attention to what’s happening right now.” The authors propose that being fully present can “interrupt the negative assumptions and catastrophic predictions running through your mind.” I also appreciate how Robinson and Smith suggest the option of practicing mindfulness, a series of techniques that can help you “recalibrate,” if you will.
The goal is to be present in the “here and now” so that you can appreciate the current moment completely free of judgment. The authors add that mindfulness can “calm your mind, ease stress, and boost your overall mood.”
If you’re struggling with being unsure about one or more aspects of your life, I’d be happy to talk to you and help you ease the stress and/or pressure you may be feeling. I want to give you the courage and motivation to continue down your life’s path; help you grow and achieve the realistic dreams you want to fulfill, and to inspire you to do whatever it is that makes you feel at your happiest and healthiest.
I’m Here for You
If you’re interested in working with me, you can find my credentials and more information on my website, www.barbstone.me. I invite you to connect with me whenever you’re ready, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.