As a teenager I believed I was wise beyond my years … and many still call me an old soul. However, I also believed, incorrectly, that if I could make all my own decisions my life would be a perfect happily-ever-after. Of course, that would mean my life would go as planned and there would never be any uncertainty.
People make plans to get things done and reduce uncertainty. Plans do help get things done, but they rarely, if ever, reduce the uncontrollable nature of uncertainty. Wisdom allows us to realize that more things feel uncertain than certain. Ironically, as much as we don’t like uncertainty it doesn’t always mean unwanted or bad.
When we feel the pangs of fear and anxiety that naturally surround uncertainty, it’s easy to forget that most of the time on the other side of it everything works out just fine, even though things might not have worked out as planned.
Since uncertainty can rain on our happy parade how do we realistically acknowledge it, yet, recognize our happiness too?
First we need to identify the source of the uncertainty. Is it something major like career, money, health, parenting or caretaking challenges that can be life changers? Or is it something minor like a tiff with a friend, the weather, or if we’re getting invited to a party?
If the source of our uncertainty is minor, meaning not a life changer, then we need to refuse to let it take a minute away from our happiness. Although we may have a desired result, it shouldn’t be more than a blip on our emotional radar if it doesn’t happen. It certainly shouldn’t have the ability to redefine our happiness.
But no matter how wise we feel, the life changers are called life changers for a reason. They are going to create anxiety. We’re left to figure out how to learn from these moments, grow from them, or change because of them.
Uncertainty from the minor to the major is going to happen. We need to manage it or it will manage us. We must learn the value of living in the present moment, not the “what if” moment of the future. Uncertainty is about what hasn’t happened and probably won’t happen. Even if a cloud of uncertainty is following us, happiness still happens too. It’s our responsibility to also recognize these moments. If you’re in doubt there’s a happiness rainbow lurking around the clouds of uncertainty, then broaden your happy definition and check out the Society’s 31 Types of Happiness.
Silver Lining Perspective
Uncertainty teaches us to live in the moment. It can spawn unhappiness that we must acknowledge and ultimately feel. But uncertainty is only part of any of our day. Therefore, it’s equally important to acknowledge and embrace the happiness that we also experience too. Noticing happiness helps keep us balanced in a world that is guaranteed to offer moments of both uncertainty and happiness.