Uncertainties in Life – From the Pandemic to the Election: 7 Keys to Consider to Help Face Uncertainty With Confidence by Rabbi Simon Jacobson
With the extraordinary stress and uncertainty Americans have endured in the election and coronavirus pandemic, many are wondering what’s next and how they will cope. Many people are feeling the stress of living with prolonged uncertainty. I am committed to healing our nation in the wake of the divisive election and equipping us for the future.
We all know uncertainty is very unsettling, very disconcerting and even demoralizing. What impact do these unknowns and uncertainties have on us? And how can we become stronger in the process? Here are key challenges and opportunities to help you get through it:
- Uncertainty can sap our energy. When you have clarity about something, even a development you don't like, it’s painful but the clarity allows you to move on. When there's a hanging cloud of uncertainty, there's something that does to us that weakens our entire psyche, our entire being.
- The pandemic’s psychological toll. It has challenged and disrupted all our norms – our schedules, our work, our children’s schooling, our travel and our ability to congregate with others. There isn't a sector of our lives it has not affected.
- Election exacerbates unease. Bitter partisanship, razor thin margins, and continued court battles over the outcome – the question marks continue to mount. It’s very hard to navigate when all the coordinates are on what happens next.
- How we view disruption matters. We can see it as unsettling, or we can see it as the beginning of the birth of something new. Birth pangs are uncomfortable, but disruption often leads to positive change. In the moment, nobody wants to be out of their comfort zone, but disruption allows us to be catapulted to a far better place.
- Don’t be afraid of doubt and uncertainty. It's an opportunity to question what are your givens, such as why do we have to have certainty?
- Define what’s really important in your life. Events can take on an outsized importance when we immerse ourselves in media and partisan opinions of others. It's time to step back and look inside your heart and soul. The first one you're responsible for is yourself, then your immediate family and loved ones. We need to take control of our own lives.
- Ask, "How can I grow stronger through this?" Many people who have persevered through devastating change have found growth, hope and meaning on the other side. They'll say openings happened, and in retrospect, I realized that the only way to discover new truths and new honesty was by my old paradigm being destroyed or challenged when I relied on it.
It's not about being certain about everything, but knowing that no matter what happens, even when there's the big question mark, I can navigate. Because I have certain givens in my own life that I discover, or have discovered in the past, I have confidence that I can ride through it.
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