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Safe Uncertainty — the remedy for these uncertain times.

Embracing the vitality that comes with safe uncertainty

Whether it is LinkedIn, Facebook, or my inbox… it seems that everyone out there with a shred of expertise in anything is sending me a ‘How To’ guide on surviving COVID, leading through COVID, relaxing through COVID or dancing through COVID.

In the time of most uncertainty, the response seems to be the mass marketing of certainty. My inbox is drowning in offers of certainty, but the future seems no more clear.

Thanks but no thanks, I prefer safe uncertainty to unsafe certainty.

It is as clear as day to me that nobody has a tried and tested roadmap for thriving through these current times, because they are unparalleled in any chapters of history that resemble our own. The new normal is uncertainty, and it’s a feeling we don’t like.

I’ve spent decades supporting people who have had their certainty shaken out of their lives by sudden events. Terminal diagnoses, head injuries, terminally ill children, the sudden death of a family member, violence, war… a common feature has been the realisation that life can swing from planning the new bedroom wallpaper to constant ruminations about finances, death, pain, survival, and recovery.

A normal life can, in an instant, be refocused on threats that feel far from normal — failing to realise that they were always there for us, but we were able not to notice them.

I have found it helpful to be reminded of this reality to live a full life — and to this goal I have a picture on my wall at home that includes a quote from Kierkegaard, it reads:

“Tranquilised with the trivial”

My interpretation of these words is — we walk about in our lives, actively distracting ourselves from the realities of existence at the cost of failing to seize the momentary gift of life.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Netflix nights and feel grateful for my ability to engage with the trivial, as it is a necessity for us all.

However, the gift to me of working with people who have been unable to tranquilise themselves, due to what life throws at them, is that I have learned that there is a place for this awareness — and when it can be transformed into a new outlook rather than a fear, it can enrich life.

I don’t want this piece to drift into being a ‘How To’ guide — as I am not promising