As everyone in the UK is very aware of, and likely the world at this point, the EU referendum and result to leave the EU has been painfully loud all around us of late. It made me think about how panic, the fear of the unknown and the worry caused by uncertainty, can have such large repercussions.
When it comes to our health, whether we know what’s wrong or not, there seems to be a degree of uncertainty from one day to another as to how we will feel. When looking a week, a month, or 5 years ahead, the uncertainty grows. When we wait for results, when we try a new medication, when we’re put under the knife, when we make life changes, there’s usually a fear of what’s next. I felt this when I had my ileostomy. There was a growing anxiety when it dawned on me just how much of an impact on my life this would have, for better and for worse in numerous ways. I had a lot of questions I couldn’t answer, I couldn’t predict what would happen with my job, with my life in general after the surgery, or how things would be further down the line.
Change is inevitable and the status quo is only the status quo for as long as it lasts. I think that planning, speculating and developing a backup plan are all useful things, but even these are fallible. Life will often shove more than a spanner in the works when we think we have our s*** together, when we think we’ve planned and are prepared. Being adaptable is such an important skill to develop through tough times, and indeed to see you through your life.
When it comes to your current situation, whether that’s in terms of your health, your job, a bad habit, a routine or an addiction, we may feel that we know what things are going to be like if we keep going on this path. And that’s partly true; we have a rough idea of how things will play out, but even that is not a given because even that could change. But when it comes to choosing a different path entirely, taking a risk on something unknown, you have far less safety of predictability. Coming out of an uncomfortable comfort zone could be anything from moving away from emotional eating, trying a recommended medication or surgery rather than staying with a current health complaint, or taking up a hobby that you anticipate failing at before you’ve even begun. These things are scary. You’re taking control and accepting the change, rather than the change hitting you in the face. And you don’t quite know what to expect, whether it will be ‘successful’, whether it will be worth it.
Sometimes, I think we need to weigh up the value of our fear of uncertainty over the value of moving forwards, whatever happens. There could be a wealth of progress, happiness, health, excitement, opportunities, beyond that fear. Sure, there will be anxiety and worry, and it may not be comfortable. But if it were so easy to go with the flow when things change or instigate that change, then everyone would do it without a second thought. I’m not saying throw caution completely to the wind and jump in to things without any thought. I’m saying that after some deliberation, when the current situation isn’t working, the fear of change can hold you back. Instead of the fear of the unknown paralysing you, work with it.
Whether you plan, things can change. You can try so hard to defy change, but it can happen anyway. Look for the good, hope for the best, and keep some faith.
Push beyond what holds you back and learn to acclimatise and adapt, to grow, to challenge what’s in your way.