Have you ever found yourself anxiously waiting for the result of a test at school or a reply from your crush after sending a daring text? Do you know that uneasy feeling in your stomach that just won’t go away, no matter how hard you try? We know that worrying about something that’s already a thing of the past doesn’t make sense and won’t get us anywhere. Yet, for some reason, we’ve all done this before and can relate to that feeling. Why is it that we’re so scared of uncertainty?
The first kind of uncertainty is when knowing the outcome doesn’t affect the result in any way. After writing a test, everything else is out of your control and any action you take won’t affect the result. After sending a text to your crush, there’s no undo button you can hit. By checking your phone more often, they won’t reply any sooner. This type of uncertainty is easier to be comfortable with by using logic and reasoning. If we remind ourselves of this fact, slowly it can make being uncertain less of a problem and reduce the anxiety tied to that.
Your partner is cheating on you
The other kind of uncertainty is a little bit more complicated, where chasing certainty can have an impact on the outcome. For example, you could have a suspicion that your partner is cheating on you without having any evidence to support it. Now, if you chase certainty, you’re potentially hurting your relationship by breaking the boundaries and trust that you and your partner built up. Even if they weren’t cheating, your hunger for certainty could still result in what you feared; a failed relationship. In this scenario, we let our discomfort of uncertainty interfere with what we were evaluating and ended up changing it entirely.
Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle
Now, I’m no physicist, but this is my high-level understanding of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle which is important for the next part. In quantum mechanics, to measure a wave function you must interact with it. The mechanism or device we use to measure the wave is also a wave itself. However, that interaction of measurement changes the wave entirely, because the 2 waves have now collided. You measure the wave at that point in time, but the measurement has altered it after that.
The reason I brought this up is that I see a similarity between this and between the uncertainty of things in our lives. In the example with the relationship, trying to know for certain if the partner was cheating without any evidence to suggest that could lead to checking their phone, following their car, being more nosy, and many more forms of measurement. These could have detrimental effects on the relationship, even if you were wrong about them cheating. The only reason you decided to do this is that you were uncertain about something, and you felt the need to chase certainty.
Do we chase certainty because we’re afraid to be wrong? Because we can’t handle unexpected things in our life? Because we have gotten used to the satisfaction of certainty? If only we could learn to love uncertainty, instead of trying to chase certainty. If something unexpected happens that was not planned for, we shouldn’t automatically look at it as negative. Sometimes all it takes is a different outlook or perspective to find something good in the uncertainty of life.
We can never be certain about everything, there will always be uncertainty in our life. Instead of moving that feeling from one uncertain thing to another, what if we could embrace that feeling instead. There’s something beautiful about uncertainty to me. By living in uncertainty, you’re not spending your time trying to chase certainty for something that might not even matter. It allows you to be more spontaneous in life and not worry about planning the little things that might be out of your control entirely. Living in a constant state of discomfort can make you immune to worrying, overthinking, fear, and so much more that’s tied to being uncertain. Yes Theory says it best; Seek Discomfort.