The Power of Befriending Emotional Uncertainty during Trauma Healing

trauma Sep 11, 2021

"By making friends with emotional uncertainty, we can become strengthened by the gifts it has to offer."

-Mary Johnson

Befriending emotional uncertainty is essential for healing. 

Uncertainty is a nervous or anxious feeling that occurs when we don't know what to expect or we are unsure of something.

I can't even tell you how many times I have felt depressed, sad, or anxious, and didn't know why.

Or, I couldn't even tell which of those emotions I was feeling.

Not understanding your emotions and not knowing what to expect on your journey of healing can be scary.

And uncertainty can also make you question whether you are on the right path.

I'm here to tell you that emotional uncertainty when healing from trauma is normal.

And it will inevitably pop up when you begin diving into emotions that you haven't explored before.

Here are some things to remember about emotional uncertainty as you embark on your journey of emotional healing:

It's okay to be uncertain.

It's common to feel discouraged and overwhelmed when we don't have an exact answer about what's happening with our emotions. 

Our brains don't like uncertainty.

Uncertainty means that we don't know what to expect and can't control what happens next.

As humans, we like being in charge of our emotions and what we are experiencing.

We want to know that we are safe at all times.

But it is okay to be uncertain. 

Just because we don't know exactly what's happening, or what will happen down the road, doesn't mean we're unsafe.

Being uncertain about how we feel and what lies ahead is part of the healing journey. 

Sometimes we don't know what we are feeling.

Emotions aren't always easy to understand.

Through many years of therapy, I didn't even know what emotions I was feeling most of the time. I had to learn to be okay with that.

It's a weird experience to be unsure of whether we're feeling sad, angry, joyful, relieved, or all of the above.

This can make us feel confused and upset about not knowing which emotions we are feeling. 

If we don't know which emotions we're feeling, how do we fix them?

Not knowing what we're feeling 100% of the time is normal.

Sometimes we don't know why we feel the way we do. 

"I don't know why I feel so angry/depressed/anxious. What's wrong with me?!"

Sound familiar?

It's normal to sometimes have no idea where intense emotions are coming from.

Perhaps we are experiencing more than one feeling at a time.

Maybe these emotions even conflict with each other (feeling both happy and sad).

Other times, our bodies are experiencing emotions that were stored in our bodies for years.

Remember that it's okay to not know why we feel a certain way.

Allow yourself to feel the emotion and let go of the need to know why.

We fear what lies on the other side of painful emotions.

Part of the emotional healing journey is working through emotions we have never explored before.

And most of the time, we have no idea what exploring those emotions will bring up.

As we learn about how to turn towards our pain, we experience a feeling of uncertainty and fear about what will happen.

Will we open up a can of worms that we can't close?

Will we feel worse than before?

What happens if we don't like what we find?

But uncertainty shouldn't be a reason to stop your healing journey.

While it's scary to not know what's coming next, remember that you will come out on the other side.

Sometimes we have to be okay with not knowing and just wait until it passes.

Photography of Person Peeking 

Uncertainty can create hope.

Feeling uncertain typically leads to fear.

But what if we let uncertainty let us feel hope?

There's no way of knowing what will come out of, well, anything.

When we begin a new relationship or make a sudden career change, we are never certain about how will turn out.

And sometimes that makes us scared.

But if we let uncertainty hold us back, we will never get the opportunity to find out what's on the other side of fear.

Having hope is the most critical part of experiencing uncertainty.

If we are uncertain about how things will turn out, can't we at least have hope that what lies on the other side is good?

Make emotional uncertainty your friend.

The point of this entire post is to make uncertainty your friend as you heal. 

In the moments where you feel frightened, unsure, and don't have an answer for what you're dealing with, allow yourself to remember that this is uncertainty popping up. 

I've actually found that the more I surrender to the ambiguity and uncertainty of not knowing, the more I learn. And the more I heal.

Experiencing uncertainty means we are healing. 

Feeling uncertain of what's to come means we're allowing ourselves to explore places we have never been before.

It is a surefire way to know that you are on the right path.

Allowing ourselves to not know the outcome opens us up to what the emotional healing journey has in store for us.

And the healing that comes with that journey.

When we befriend uncertainty, we give ourselves grace for not having answers and not knowing what to expect.

And we let feeling uncertainty allow us to feel hope around finding answers that we've been searching for.

You are safe.

It's okay to not know exactly what you feel or why you feel it.

Try to have faith that, even though it feels hard, uncertainty is guiding you to the place you want to be.

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