Moving from Certainty to Ambiguity
August 1st, 2019
Let’s face it. Most of us really like certainty. It’s just so much easier to see the black or white in any situation than to muddle around in shades of grey. As the Democratic Presidential contenders do their debate thing, aren’t we hoping for a clear, clean message that shows a way forward, one way or another? Case closed.
Yet, life isn’t like that.
More and more, I’m realizing that moving from Certainty to Ambiguity, to a place of curiosity and wonder, is harder to come by but well worth the effort. It takes a commitment on my part to dig deeper, push past my judgments and reactions. And do it with compassion and grace. To stay still, within myself, and offer what I know about myself, rather than self-righteously telling someone else what I see is ‘wrong’ with them. Or worse, feeling it but not saying anything (which will bleed out in some passive aggressive way later, to be sure).
I’ve shared Kim Scott’s model of Radical Candor before, and while it still applies to many situations, what I’m talking about here has more to do with Transactional Analysis. In large part because when I’m ‘stuck’ in a place of Certainty, because I see myself as right and/or others as wrong, so that I can take comfort in my black and white analysis, I’m almost always operating out of my old child self – protecting, defending, rationalizing my position.
When I can return to my present self, willing to live within the ambiguity that the present almost always requires, I find my way back to a connection with others that is far more satisfying and productive. Yes, uncomfortable at first (not black or white, and that makes me squirm), but healthy in that curious, wondering, willing to look at my own shit kind of way.
I do hope the Democrats take a look at their shit and figure this out, sooner than later.
Thanks for listening. Let me know your thoughts when you have a chance.