Why Uncertainty Limits Your Happiness (and how to fix it)
The future of our nation is uncertain. If there’s anything last night’s election tells me, it’s that America is divided and we now have a very controversial leader about to take the most powerful position in the world. Regardless of your political affiliation, you know Donald Trump is extremely controversial and very inexperienced politically. So, yes, there is massive uncertainty brewing.
Martin Luther once said “Nothing in the world causes so much misery as uncertainty.”
You got that right Mr. Luther (not to be confused with Martin Luther King Jr.)! This Martin Luther was actually a Christian theologian and Augustinian monk. So, on an every day level there is uncertainty in every choice we make – we are uncertain about sending an email, which route to take to get somewhere on time, saying yes or no to someone, which job to take, which candidate to vote for. On a deeper level, we as human beings are uncertain about life itself. What does it mean to be human? What are we here for? What is our purpose? On Amazon alone there are over 11,000 books on the topic “purpose of life” with thousands of reviews. See, everyone is wondering why we’re here! No matter who you are, you’re uncertain about something, big or small. And uncertainty leads to anxiety, stress, depression, regret, misery, and ultimately disconnect from ourselves, from others and from the power of Universe. The allllll mighty Universe – can I get a Hallelujah!? Just kidding, unless you want to, go for it.
Why uncertainty makes us feel this way
Uncertainty stems from the unknown. And as everyone knows, there is great fear in the unknown – you knew that right? Some people even say fear of the unknown is the greatest fear of all – google it and you’ll find several quotes about it, promise. Here’s one for example:
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” – H.P. Lovecraft
It’s no wonder that uncertainty makes most of us feel so terrible – it incites fear within us. When we’re uncertain about something it’s because we are fearful of the possible outcomes. It could be that you’re afraid something won’t happen the way you want it to or when you want it to happen. Or maybe you have no fucking clue how something will turn out and all the possible outcomes scare you. In any case, just hit pause and realize that what’s causing these painful emotions isn’t the uncertainty itself, but our lack of faith in the Universe and our disconnect to our true self – and that we can change.
Love vs. Fear – the epic mind battle
What is the most powerful force in life? Love. You might’ve answered fear after reading H.P. Lovecraft’s quote up there, but that old, dead white man had it wrong…partially. Fear does tend to give love a good run for its money, but no, the most powerful, oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is love. It may not feel that way because we feel fear often more than we feel love. Why is that? Because our society breeds fear, it feeds on it. Fear causes us to act – so the media perpetuates fear stories because those stories get clicks and views and shares. People are afraid of what they don’t know so they have to read that story. To protect themselves, duh. Fear causes us to act – so anybody selling something will be successful if they show you a problem to be fearful of and then provide a solution. Sort of worth mentioning that Donald Trump’s campaign was largely based on fearmongering…jus sayin. But I digress.
Look, there are two mindsets with which we approach life. From love and from fear. Innately, we approach life from fear because that’s what’s been ingrained in us, it’s what we’ve been taught, it’s what has kept us alive throughout history. The fear stories we tell ourselves are meant to keep us safe, free from risk and uncertainty but what they really do is keep us from fully experiencing life, from experiencing joy and happiness.
Related Post: What’s Blocking Your Happiness: Self-Confidence
So what do we do?
Well, we can’t avoid uncertainty, especially if we want to live exciting, adventurous and fun lives – and let’s face it, who doesn’t want that? But we can lean into it and embrace it. Uncertainty means something new is happening in your life, something is changing, so get excited! Change your perspective and see uncertainty from love instead of fear. We can actually retrain our minds to live from love, instead of from fear. It’s not an easy process and we’ll never be perfect at it, we all have bad days and rough patches, but it’s so worth working at it to experience life the way it was meant to be experienced.
When we live from love and not fear we can be free from the worry, stress and anxiety that uncertainty brings because we are choosing to put our trust in the Universe. We need to have faith that no matter what the outcome of an uncertain situation is, it will be exactly what we need at the time we need it most, even when it may not outwardly appear that way – just like my illness! When we approach life from love, we are living in alignment with our true self. Our true self doesn’t know fear because it places full trust in the power of the Universe.
The Universe will never give us something that we can’t handle. We must choose to surrender our control of situations to the Universe, because let’s face it, we never really had control in the first place. It’s when we think we have control over outcomes that fear, uncertainty and frustration come alive. And it’s not that our fates are pre-determined – I believe we have control over how our lives unfold, but only in our actions and reactions, not in the outcomes. We are not victims of our circumstances. Quite the opposite, we create our circumstances with our actions, but the outcomes cannot be controlled – they’re a result of your actions along with external forces, like other people. So it makes sense that you can’t control them. (In other words, stop trying to and you’ll be much happier). So next time you’re feeling uncertain about something, choose to respond from love, not fear. Make love your primary choice every day and with practice this will create much more joy and happiness in your life.
Here’s an example. This morning I was fearful over the uncertainty of our country’s future. I was feeling very lost, confused and depressed that our nation would choose someone with such hateful views to represent us. Then I read a chapter in Gabby Bernstein’s new book, The Universe Has Your Back, and it inspired me to approach my feelings and this situation differently. Then I wrote this post, which draws a lot of inspiration from the book – it’s awesome by the way, go read it. I think if I had told Gabby my concerns about our current situation she would’ve responded with a quote from her book:
“In the midst of the darkness, grab a flashlight.”
According to Gabby, the light is all around us, we just have to choose to tune into it and use the tools we have at our disposal to see the good in the situation. So how am I choosing to see this situation from love? I am choosing to believe that President-elect, Donald Trump, has the best intentions for our country. I believe he truly does want to make our country better. I disagree with his hateful comments and views but I know people can change and I have faith that he will be open to seeing things from different perspectives. I am choosing to believe that being elected to arguably the most powerful position in the world will change who is he for the better, at the very least, it should humble him. May he see the struggles of others and have the chance to walk in someone else’s shoes. May he get involved in the communities he has disrespected, gain new understandings for them and even give back to them and make things right. Will he make a good president? Only time will tell, but I am choosing to believe that he can.
This is the situation the Universe has dealt us and there must be a reason for it. There is a purpose for this, it’s just yet to present itself. So I am choosing to grab my flashlight, I hope you do too. You’ll be happier, your soul will be at ease and we’ll be a stronger nation for it.
P.S. I really didn’t want to get political but it was so hard not to. Judge me if you will, but it’s all from the heart. <3
Related Post: What’s Blocking Your Happiness: Self-Awareness