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Dealing with Uncertainty: What to Rely On? July 15, 2012

Posted by Living Abundance in Uncategorized.
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For the first time in my life I am searching for a “real job,” a permanent full-time job reflecting all of my education and training. Consequently, I am also face-to-face with uncertainty, as I really don’t know what the future brings with regards to my location, my job, my coworkers, my friends, my sangha, and my distance from family.

Here in this incredibly uncertain future is where my usual tendency to resort to projecting into the future and building myself up with planning is no longer applicable. I have to admit that I no longer am in complete control of my future. I can’t simply decide an answer to all of the above open questions.

I’m seeing quite clearly how this sense of not knowing is uncomfortable, it makes me uneasy. It is not a place I am used to. The blessing of my modern life is that I can have a great deal of control over my own personal situation.

My usual reaction to dealing with anxiety is to resort to routine in my daily life. I structure what I do, the tasks I complete, where I go, the people I spend time with, as a way to cushion myself against the unpredictability of human life. I take comfort in the familiarity of going through each day exactly as I can plan it, and as a result, I get stuck in grooves, repetitiveness, and habitual patterns.

Therefore, the curse of this modern life is that the control can create an illusion of certainty. It can always appear that I have things entirely planned out, arranged, put in place, but then something will come along and tip the boat, shake things up, take the rug out from under my feet.

I am seeing exactly the type of situation that this routine is explicitly trying to avoid:

I haven’t encountered this situation before/ recently.

I need to make a decision about what to do, the best way to proceed.

I only have a limited amount of information at this present time about what is the best decision.

Any decision I make has no guarantee that it will achieve my desired end result.

For me this circumstance of uncertainty and novelty is quite scary. For that reason, I’ve carefully and purposefully engineered it out of my life situation.

This type of job search is new and uncertain for me, as I’ve never before had to look for a “real job. I have no guarantee that in this whole process I am proceeding in the “right” way or making the best decisions.

Although I think that so far I have been doing better than I expected in dealing with the uncertainty of not having a job lined up, I do experience some low points. At times I feel hopeless, my mood becomes more depressed, and I lose my motivation:

I give up. I don’t care. I’m not doing this right now.

I’ve also been noticing some thoughts and feelings that I suspect may be due to what I label “internalized classism.” The thoughts and feelings go somewhat like:

I don’t belong here. I don’t fit. I’m not wanted. I have nothing to offer.

At other times in my life (applying to university and graduate school, applying for awards, working in an academic setting), I’ve had similar feelings where I’m not the right type of person (i.e., not the right social class) to be accepted here. I see how these thoughts have been a story that has been playing for much of my life, and is a result of deep conditioning.

What else do I rely on to tell myself that things are working out exactly the way they are supposed to?

A sense of hope and optimism for the future.

Faith in the process unfolding before my very eyes.

Faith that the world I perceive outside of me has a place for me.

Faith in myself and my abilities, skills, and personality.

Faith in other people who have helped me thus far, who have shaped who I am. In all of my past experiences that have shaped who I am, I carry their instructions, their example, and their teachings inside of me.

That sense of faith is actually a familiar place for me from when I was struggling to complete my degree. Often I felt so much like giving up, and I wanted to stop pushing myself to work to finish. I wanted desperately to stop using fear, anxiety, shame, and guilt as motivation to push myself to complete the work I found dissatisfying.

As much as I could at these times, I tried to motivate myself to complete my work by having faith that my talents and abilities would combine with an intrinsic human need to direct activity outside of oneself. Now I am trying to use a similar motivation on my job search. I am trying to have faith that there is a place I can align myself with to receive my talents and abilities.




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