Several years ago, I found myself going through a period of profound uncertainty. Much of my life as I knew it was falling apart. Safety and security are my top values and during that time in my life I had very little of both. Nothing felt stable; everything felt like a swirling ball of chaos.
As I have reflected on what allowed me to get through that season of uncertainty, I know offering myself grace was huge. This looked like forgiving mistakes, releasing judgment, and accepting that things would look different going forward. Grace made all the difference for me.
During this pandemic there has been nothing but uncertainty. And as cities around the world begin to reopen that uncertainty remains.
Today, I want to share with you 5 ways you can embody G.R.A.C.E. in times of uncertainty. (Y’all know I love a good acronym 😊)
I honestly tried to avoid leading with this one because it felt too trite. Truth is, though, rediscovering a gratitude practice made a huge difference for me when my life was falling apart. During that time, it was too easy to look at all the things changing or going wrong.
Taking time every day to find 3-5 things I was grateful for helped me maintain perspective. This was especially true on the hard days. When faced with uncertainty or the monotony of each day feeling like the day before, a gratitude practice helps focus you on the unexpected joys hiding all around you. It is a game-changer for sure.
Judgement of yourself (or others) may show up when things feel chaotic. In the place of judgment, I invite you to bring kindness. And not just a little bit of kindness. I want you to RLK It! Offer Ridiculous Levels of Kindness. This is over-the-top levels of kindness that leave no place for harsh words.
You’ve never experienced anything like this before. Not knowing what to do and making mistakes is to be expected. Stay kind in this time. This is isn’t necessarily easy. However, I know from personal experience that it makes change easier to move through.
Even as my life was falling apart, I kept wanting to act the same. I wanted to keep achieving goals, hitting objectives, making strides in life. This only exhausted me. Too much was changing too quickly for it to be business as usual.
When facing times of uncertainty, you won’t be able to do all the things you hoped to do, in the ways you wanted to do them. The very nature of uncertainty means that life feels like an ever-moving target. It’s too hard to set goals under those circumstances. Therefore, I encourage releasing the need to have any goals. I know not everyone can embrace this idea. Whether you let go of them completely or modify them, know that your goals will change, and this is OKAY.
Concentrate on now
When my life was falling apart, I vacillated between focusing on life after the chaos or spending too much time reminiscing about the past. These were my attempts to avoid the here and now because it was too painful.
When uncertainty swirls, you have to stay present to what is happening now. Playing ‘what-if’ or ‘if-only’ games serves only to increase your misery. Trust me when I tell you, trying to anticipate what might happen is an exercise in futility. You can’t know what’s coming and just when you think you’ve figured it out, life will invariably throw you a curveball. The only way forward is to be present to the here and now.
Embrace ALL your feelings
You will likely feel a wide range of emotions during this time. Give yourself permission to feel all of them without judgment (see RLK It! above 😊). Avoiding your feelings doesn’t make them go away. The energy of them will build up in your body whether you feel them or not. By allowing yourself to be in your feelings, you free up your energy. This allows you to process and move through times of uncertainty with more ease.
Now I’d like to hear from you. Which of these strategies resonates most with you? Which one feels like it might be the most challenging for you? Tell me in the comments below or you can email me at makeda(at)makedapennycooke(dot)com I’d love to hear from you.
Here’s to you finding ways to embody grace and rising into your greatness.
From my heart to yours,