The Prickly Pain of Uncertainty
One of the gutsiest things I know of is to be able to tolerate uncertainty or ambiguity: do I go or stay? is the biopsy going to show trouble? will I win the Nobel? is he going nuts or just being mean? am I on next week’s layoff list? And on and on like that.
A good deal of life is made up of that stuff. And a lot of the time it’s important to be able to stay in an uncertain state long enough to make good decisions. By contrast: I remember once in my single years when I felt I’d be relieved for a romance to be over so I could stop fearing the end of it. So I hurried that process along.
Some things that help me in these fretful wobbly periods:
*meditating and exercising
*getting deep into work or some other trance-inducing activity
*telling myself I’ll stop thinking about possible outcomes or choices until Tuesday of next week and then I’ll get back to it
*doing some research on the question
*check items off a to-do list, whether or not they’re relevant
*take any relevant action that might help
*whining to friend
Things that don’t help:
*scraping at my skin and other twitchy habits
*making big decisions that could wait
*getting into arguments that could wait
It doesn’t take a big issue like a biopsy to trigger the limbo state. I remember my need to decide at the start of ninth grade about whether to sign up for French III. Mon Dieu! People have married and produced children with less obsessing.
I assume that when some little uncertainty goes big as French III did, that there’s often a larger one underneath. Something like fear of death, fear of failure, fear of being a ninth grade dork, simply looking for a place to land. Could be the best thing is just to let it land and then sit it out.
If you like this post, please bookmark it on del.icio.us, share it on StumbleUpon, vote for it on Digg. Thanks so much.