What if they don’t like me? What if I can’t complete my project? What if this freckle on my arm is something more serious? What if my OCD prevents me from living life the way I want?
What if? This is the question that has held too much power over my life, my values, my goals, my adventures and my chance for new opportunities. I used to think that there must be an answer to these questions. There has to be — right? Because, if there isn’t an answer, that means I just have to deal with not knowing? How do I let these questions go? How can I possibly focus on anything else when the possibility that something bad will happen is just hanging over my head?
But then, one day, my fairy godmother told me about this magical concept of embracing uncertainty. (And by fairy godmother I mean my therapist — and honestly, she’s pretty magical). I was told that life was filled with uncertainty. And that in order to live life, we have to take on a certain amount of risk and just accept that sometimes there are questions that we won’t ever know the answer to. What a concept? So, if uncertainty is just a normal part of life, that means I can just throw my hands up and say “welp, we’ll never know?”
Of course, it wasn’t that easy. Sure I could just tell myself “stop trying to find an answer because there isn’t one,” and everything would be okay. But when you have OCD it’s a little harder to just go behind your OCD’s back without it giving its two cents. It takes practice. It takes strength to shift your attention away from that nagging question and force it towards the present moment.
What if they don’t like me? Well, yes it’s possible they won’t like me, and it’s possible they will. But, I’m probably better off spending my energy actually enjoying this new experience and being my best self. If they don’t like me, well, then they’ll just miss out because honestly I’m a great girl.
What if I can’t complete my project? Sure, it’s possible that I won’t complete my project, but worrying about the future will definitely not help me complete my project, so I should probably just start working on my project. And, if I don’t finish my project, I’ll deal with that disaster when it comes.
What if this freckle on my arm is something more serious? Well, considering I’m not a doctor, I should maybe just make an appointment, and continue living my life until that appointment arrives.
The key to accepting uncertainty? Focus on the here and now. Use your energy to be your best self in the present moment and deal with the future when the future comes.
The truth is, yes there is always a possibility of something not going according to plan. But, there is no sense in living life stuck in fear and depriving yourself of all the things you want to experience in life. There’s no sense in making space for that “what if” thought to be by your side when it just sucks the fun out of everything — fun sucker (name that movie). When you allow yourself to gamble with the uncertainty of life, eventually, that uncertainty feels a little less scary and will no longer constantly hang over your head. And you’ll make room for things in your life that exude fun. Because, when you're not living according to the “what if,” you start to live life according to the now.
That uncertainty will be there whether you decide to isolate yourself from the things you love or whether you decide to live your life to the fullest. If we don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, doesn’t it make sense to start living your life to the fullest today?