The Misery of Uncertainty

paths
In a wooded area, two pathways diverge.
Public domain image.

Psychologist Bruce Perry shares a particular adage in in some of his books which may seem a bit pithy, but there is a lot of wisdom and thought behind it too. He says,

So often,

“We prefer the certainty of misery to the misery of uncertainty.”

There are times when we assume that pain, chaos, or conflict are going to be constant. Maybe not in every situation, but at least, in particular ones.

There are times when harmful rhythms, patterns, and practices (our own or others) become normalized to us, even though they are causing great difficulty.

There are times when we come to expect very little with resignation or cynicism.

These cause misery, but we can feel settled in their sense of certainty. Rather than risking uncertainty, we sometimes prefer what we have become accustomed to because goodness knows,

uncertainty is vulnerable.

Risking hope is vulnerable.
Saying, “No More,” is vulnerable.
Cultivating new possibilities is vulnerable.

It really is vulnerable.

And if we’re doing any of these things, or if we want to do these things, we can give ourselves a lot of gentleness and grace. But we can also give ourselves hope and trust. Uncertainty requires risk, but it is generally the pathway by which newness comes.

Renee Roederer

2 thoughts on “The Misery of Uncertainty

  1. Not being able to tolerate ambiguity bedevils both the radical right and radical left in our politics. Of course the same can be said about tolerating ambiguity within our religious beliefs.

    I believe the future belongs to all of us when we can tolerate ambiguity. When we cannot, what future might we have?

    Like

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