If a person is hungry, unsafe, not loved or accepted, or lacking self-esteem, it's pretty easy to know what he or she is restless about. It's not always clear, though, what a person wants when there is a need for self-actualization.
If we look around us, we see all kinds of uncertain situations - layoffs, divorces and serious illnesses, to name a few. These show up in our lives on different levels of Maslow's model.
To put things into perspective and identify the fear that drives our uncertainties, it helps to acknowledge that many of our needs are already being met. This helps to dispel the myth of hopelessness. Then we can move forward to address needs in the other realms.
To cope in the midst of our storms in life, author Anne Lonsdorf has developed some simple strategies:
Five tips for living with uncertainty
1. Examine and identify your fear
2. Turn "what if" thoughts into "what is" statements
3. Be aware that you control your choices
4. Be aware that you choose your thoughts (which result in your feelings)
5. Take responsibility for yourself
I found the first two tips to be especially helpful. Sometimes we're so overwhelmed with the "ain't it awful" attitude that it's hard to zero in on the fear that's at the eye of the storm.
And then we're off and running with every imaginable scenario running through our heads. What if this happens? What if that happens? To calmly step back and reframe the situation into "what is" statements helps provide a reality check.
Once we've accomplished these two things, chances are it's easier to see that we have choices. When we're so mired in the muck, that's hard to know.
So, as we face the everyday uncertainties in our lives, it helps to realize just how many of our needs are already being met.
To paraphrase philosopher Bertrand Russell, "certainty is the enemy of wisdom."
Linda Arnold, MBA, is a certified wellness instructor and founder and chairwoman of
The Arnold Agency, an integrated marketing communications firm in Charleston. Reader comments or questions may be mailed to
Linda Arnold, The Arnold Agency, 117 Summers St., Charleston, WV 25301, or e-mail livinglifefu...@arnoldagency.com.