Dealing With Uncertainty: When You Don’t Know What to Do Next

“Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.” ~William S. Burroughs

There’s a lot of advice out there that tells us when to let go of something and make a change in our lives, as if moving on were as simple as your brain notifying your hand to loosen it’s grip and release a balloon in the air.

But when it comes to grappling with your heart and soul, it’s not such an easy thing to do. You cannot choose to amputate your feelings on a moment’s notice.

Maybe you’re sitting in a place of uncertainty for what you should do next. Perhaps you didn’t get closure on what happened in a relationship or you don’t understand what the lesson is that you’re supposed to learn from a situation. Whatever it may be, some part of your life is confusing.

I too have been going through a period of ambiguity, both personally and professionally, as I have been in a career transition that’s taking much longer than I expected, and I had a heartbreaking romantic relationship abruptly end.

Having both of these things occurring simultaneously has been intense, and it’s left me questioning my capabilities and how I got myself into these circumstances.

These are things I’ve gathered from thought leaders, spiritual teachers, books, and friends that have helped me to find some solace in the meantime:

Surrender the internal battle.

You probably have a long list of logical reasons for what you should do, or feel, about where you are. In an attempt to make yourself believe this rationale, you repeat them over and over.

You think, “This person is selfish and immature, so I should dump them.” Or, “This company doesn’t value me, so I should quit.” Yet, for some reason you just can’t make the conviction stick enough to take that next step. Stop fighting with yourself. This a sign that it’s not your truth right now.

What’s the rush?

Having doubts is a sign that your heart and mind are in conflict.

If you’re in a physical or emotionally abusive situation, obviously you need to make a more immediate decision for your well-being. But if your circumstances allow for you to have the option to stay put, you should. Try to stop flicking the problem with questions and more analyzing. Your intellect, creativity, and ability to reason have not failed you.

Lao Tzu wrote, “Trying to understand is like straining through muddy water. Have the patience to wait! Be still and allow the mud to settle.” We usually feel agitated and unstable when we’re unclear, and if we’re not conscious of it, we can push ourselves to make a rash decision that may not be the best option.

Drop the judgment.

Telling yourself you’re “crazy,” “foolish,” or “something is wrong with me” for being indecisive is mean. Punishing your emotions by ridiculing them will not make them go away any faster or help you to hurry up to make a decision.

When you work to try to change your feelings, you’re going against a natural part of you, which causes more pain and stress. Be kind to yourself. Just honor them as a piece of you that needs loving compassion and allow for them to be there.

Trust the process.

Try to have faith that whatever you’re experiencing right now will ultimately be for your highest good, and that whenever you receive the right information, it will be the perfect time.

The only certainty we have is change. While you may be suffering now, that too will transform. In Kinesiology, it is well-known that when building muscle tissue, for either flexibility or strength, tiny tears occur in the process. So too do our emotions. Sometimes they have to rip apart to grow and expand.

You’re going to be done when you’re done.

Just because someone tells you it’s time to move on, that doesn’t mean that you should. Trying to force yourself to let go before you’re ready to could mean you may have some regret later and you’re the only one who would have to live with that, not the other person who’s doling out the advice.

Find other examples in your past when you’ve known exactly when the right time was to make a change. You’ll have that certainty again.

Get busy.

What else do you want in your life? Focus on what you are certain of and start working on it. Whether it’s going to the gym more, cooking healthier meals, or organizing your living space, find a project that will improve another aspect of your vitality.

By distracting your attention, you’re cultivating positive energy rather than stagnating on something that is beyond your control. The more happiness you create, the more you’ll attract.

Being in a place of uncertainty can feel like a difficult, scary place to be in, but it’s a sign that you’re going through a transition. And in this odyssey that is life, it’s a normal phase of any journey of inner evolution.

Let the unfolding happen with the greatest comfort and care that you would with any birth. This is a gestation into your new self.

About Jenn Kashiwa

Jenn is a freelance writer, yogi, and pop-culture enthusiast. She writes about her lessons on learning to live more consciously, wholly, and lovingly on her website.

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