Guest Post “Coping with an Uncertain Future” Rachael Roberts- 18 Aug 2020 -
Image: Rachael Roberts
I am delighted to share this inspiring and supportive guest post from Rachael Roberts. With 30 years’ experience in education as well as having trained in counselling, psychotherapy, meditation and life-coaching, Rachael specialises in helping those who are feeling anxious, overloaded or otherwise not living their best lives, to make deep, permanent, positive changes in their life and work. She says:
“As it becomes more and more obvious that things are not ‘going back to normal’ any time soon, all of us find ourselves dealing with uncertainty in one form or another. For musicians, the future may feel even more uncertain. The impact of Covid19 upon the performing arts has been catastrophic, as live shows have been cancelled around the world, with no real sign yet of a return to how things were.
So, how can any of us deal with the kind of uncertainty created by recent events?
Perhaps the first thing is to recognise that none of us ever have the kind of control over our lives that we would like to think we have. We ask each other interview questions like, ’Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?’ and plan holidays and other events a year or more in advance, but, even without a global pandemic to deal with, life frequently gets in the way.
Accepting that we can’t control everything is often, paradoxically, something of a relief. It means that we recognise that spending all our time worrying about what might happen is usually a colossal waste of energy. As the saying goes, ‘’Don’t pay interest on trouble you haven’t borrowed yet.’
It is also often difficult to predict whether what has happened is ultimately going to turn out to be a good or a bad thing. I could have saved myself a lot of heartbreak earlier in my life if I’d simply realised that my failed relationships were simply clearing the way for a later successful marriage.
But does this mean that we should just throw up our hands and surrender to fate?
I wouldn’t say so, no. In fact, feeling that we are totally at the mercy of whatever happens can make us feel worse. Instead, I think it’s about recognising the difference between those things which we can’t control (pandemics and other global or national events, other people’s behaviour, accidents) and those over which we do have quite a lot of control.
To go back to the relationships example, I didn’t have any control over how they felt about me, but sometimes I most certainly could have made a better choice of partner…
The current situation is unarguably difficult, and the future uncertain, but we can absolutely control how we deal with this.
In the first place, we can avoid constantly reading or watching the news. Of course it’s important to be aware of what is happening, but with so much news available, it’s very easy to overload on this. We have an inbuilt negative bias, designed to protect us from danger by focusing on the bad news we hear. But when so very much is easily available from around the world this can have the unintended consequence of keeping us in a constant state of alert and stress. This then undermines our ability to think strategically and plan for the future in a balanced way.
Secondly, we can consciously focus on any positive aspects to our current situation. This isn’t to deny the negatives, but just not to give them more space than they merit. Perhaps we now have more time to learn a new skill (or instrument) or to develop our skills further. Perhaps it’s finally time to start that website we’ve been thinking about for years, or make new contacts, or try a different approach to getting what you have to offer out into the world? Use the creativity you undoubtedly have to take some positive steps.
Creating little wins and successes will not only put us in a better situation to deal with the future, but also help to improve our mood and thus strengthen our ability to cope with adversity.
And finally, use the community you have, or create or join one if you don’t. Trying times are an opportunity to forge links and support each other. Being part of a community can also open doors and provide opportunities and ideas that you might never have considered on your own.”
Facebook: Join Rachael’s community – Life-Resourceful Lightbulb Moments – a group for anyone interested in creating a more mindful, balanced, happy life: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2309506592706916/