Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Celebrating Acceptance: Dealing with Uncertainty

Photo courtesy of Nancy Hall

By Nancy Hall, MA, NCC, LPC

In Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly she states: 
I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. With that definition in mind, let’s think about love. Waking up every day and loving someone who may or may not love us back, whose safety we can’t ensure, who may stay in our lives or may leave without a moment’s notice, who may be loyal to the day they die or betray us tomorrow—that’s vulnerability.
This notion of uncertainty often trips us up. While intellectually we know we can’t foresee every risk or predict every outcome, we continue to armor ourselves against hurt. We keep our defenses fortified so that we can be protected from the sneak attack of hurt or rejection. We avoid vulnerability until we feel certain that we won’t get hurt—until we’ve collected enough evidence and data.

Sounds logical, right? After all, we’re not going to offer up our hearts without evaluating the risks. And that’s important—to a point.

The problem with looking for certainty is that it doesn’t exist. We can never know for sure that we won’t be hurt or rejected. We can play the odds, consider other people’s past behavior, and pay attention to our gut. But certainty in relationships doesn’t exist. But that’s not all bad news.

Uncertainty allows us to learn and grow; it challenges us and is the avenue for deeper relationships. Uncertainty spurs us to learn to trust ourselves. To believe that even if the worst were to happen, that we’ll be OK. When (not if) hurt and rejection occur, we can find our inner resilience and grow from the experience.

The Awaken to Action theme at The Awakening Center for December is Acceptance. So I challenge you to accept uncertainty—to notice where you’re clinging to or desperately seeking certainty. Notice how accepting uncertainty can create opportunities for closeness and vulnerability. Remember, acceptance doesn’t mean approval—it’s merely acknowledging the reality of the situation.

So when you’re grasping for certainty that is elusive—try saying to yourself, “this is how it is right now.” That phrase alone creates acceptance in your heart.

Like us on Facebook to keep track of the Celebrate Acceptance challenges for December.

Nancy is a staff therapist at The Awakening Center. In addition to seeing clients for individual therapy, she facilitates the adult DBT group and the Eating Disorder Therapy Group. Like her on Facebook and subscribe to her personal blog

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this - a great way to look at the way I have been approaching all of this uncertainty through a different lens.