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Ambiguity: Facing the Fear of Uncertainty

Updated: May 30, 2023

We’re on a journey of understanding our relationship to time, and how we respond to it. Last month I

talked about Permeability, the third in my Five-Part series.

This month let’s look at what happens when you move from Permeability into Ambiguity. Ambiguity takes hold when you have a number of possibilities of equal interest or magnitude in your life. What starts to happen is, you tend to lose interest, become apathetic, and become indifferent to those options. Your own passions seem to move away and outside yourself, and the world around you goes a little dim. You find it almost impossible to grasp onto anything meaningful.

Concepts like ambiguity are a curiosity for people because most of us prefer to live in the more secure world of black and white, this or that, causes and effects. We feel stable when an outcome is predictable and we have a grip on our emotional response to a particular set of circumstances.

It’s when our choices are too numerous and all have a degree of potential success, that our forward

momentum can become unclear--you review them all until they take on a veneer of sameness. While we all value options and choices, when you have so many possibilities with an equal number of potential outcomes available to us, we can lose our inner compass—the one that tells us which direction to take.

Here are a few tools I use with my clients to help them move out of what often looks and feels like apathy, or the ‘whatever’ mood we can get lost in:

  • Explore putting the spark back into your life - try something you’ve always heard was delicious to eat.

  • Go to a new part of town, walk an unfamiliar trail (bring someone along with you).

  • Get curious about uncovering the unexpected – when was the last time you were truly surprised? How did it feel? What is a mystery in your life you’d like to know more about? Try it!

  • Seek friends who are drawn to novelty – Get a friend to try a new Meetup with you. Volunteer at a charity event, look for new cuisine to try.

  • Play, find humor and have fun! – Get the game Twister, turn the sound off on a movie you’re watching and do the dialogue out loud together.

  • The next time you feel like getting offended, try laughing instead.

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