Letting go of: certainty

I am someone who always wants to feel a sense of control over a situation. I hate that there are no guarantees in life, so I often set goal after goal for myself in order to create situations where I can get as close as I can to ensure that I am the only factor that stands in the way of my success. This applies to what projects I want to be involved in, what relationships I want to thrive in, and what dreams I want to invest in.

Of late, I have recognised that I haven’t been listening to my intuition – that strong internal instinct, or gut feeling, that usually whispers for us to “trust your instincts,” or to “wait a second; you need more information before you make a decision.” Day after day I have realised that what silences my intuitive voice is my desperate need for certainty. Here are some red flags that warn me that I am not not letting go…

Rather than respecting my instinct, I usually become fearful and check-out of a situation. I run away from the idea of a dream by self-sabotaging. I check-out of relationships when I anticipate that an obstacle is on its way. I don’t apply for ‘that job’ because if I don’t apply it means at least I can guarantee that I haven’t got it, right? That way, I don’t waste my time and energy hoping that I have done enough in that audition room or interview. I find that I give up on myself before I even enter a race, literally and figuratively; yet, if I do end up running the race, I do so half-heartedly so that I can blame my finishing time on an injury or a lack of time/commitment during training. How pointless?

Or, I look for assurances from others. It’s almost as if I do not trust my own response, and instead of checking-in with myself I bombard my friends with questions:

“What do you think?”

“Should I have done that?”

“Do you think I’ll regret it?”

“Have I made the right decision?”

Why do we find it so difficult to trust our own voice? Why do we often feel so uncertain? Sometimes I feel like we want assurances from other people so that we can share the blame if things don’t pan out. We shift our sense of ownership onto others to avoid how vulnerable it can feel to make our own way in the world.

Lastly, I recognise that I try to rush the process. I find that I sometimes get impatient, and I rush making a decision by ignoring my gut instinct; I don’t even give it a moment to warn me to slow down and to gather more information. Who else resonates with these thoughts?:

“F*ck it. I don’t care anymore. I’m just going to do it.”

“I’m too tired to think; it’s too stressful.”

“I hate feeling stagnant.”

“I’d rather just get it over and done with.”

I believe that we do ourselves an injustice when we charge head-first into big decisions. For me, I know it’s because I avoid uncertainty and I want to control the outcomes of my life instead of waiting for the answers to emerge. Perhaps it’s also because I am fearful that waiting to make a decision may lead me away from what I think I want. Or that, sometimes, being still challenges me to face aspects of myself that feel unfamiliar and exposed. 

Recently, I have given myself the permission to slow down. I believe that if we learn to trust our intuition, it may even tell us that we don’t have enough information yet and that we need more data, more time, more space to believe and commit to choices.

Moving into the second half of the year, I’m encouraging us all to spend some time with ourselves, independently, not fighting the urge to run away from stillness. Let’s trust that we already know what is the best option for us in this moment, and that we simply need to allow ourselves the time and space to be able to hear ourselves think and make a mindful decision.

What do you need to slow down for today?

Life is but a vapour.

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