#83 - Finding Clarity in Not Knowing

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By Vicki Tidwell Palmer, LCSW, Vicki Tidwell Palmer, and LCSW. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

How do you feel about not having clarity or answers, or not knowing what to do next? Most of us (including me!) don’t like the feeling. But as hard as it is, I want to make the case for uncertainty as a distinct state in its own right, with its own unique brand of clarity. Tune in to learn how to accept uncertainty as a predictable — yet frustrating — part of life.

Biggest Takeaways From Episode #83:

  • The uncomfortable way that we feel about (and react to) not knowing is related to control. If we have a lack of clarity, we don’t have control over an outcome or making it happen.
  • Contrary to popular notions about boundaries, they are not necessarily constrictive. Boundaries actually create space and safety, which then allow us to relax. This is why we love clarity; it means we know the answer to something or we know what will happen next. Lack of clarity creates a bit of negative activation in our nervous system.
  • The reality is that life is filled with uncertainty and lack of clarity. So how can we make peace with uncertainty? One option is to accept that not-knowing is a very specific state, so accepting a lack of clarity is a kind of clarity in itself.
  • Pushing for clarity or for answers often has the unintended consequence of slowing down the process of getting what we're seeking because people generally don’t like to be pressured.

Highlights from Episode #83:

  • Vicki welcomes listeners to this episode, which is all about not having clarity or answers. [00:39]
  • What does lack of clarity, or not knowing, have to do with boundaries? [03:07]
  • Vicki suggests a solution to the discomfort of lack of clarity: accepting not knowing as a kind of clarity of knowing. [08:00]
  • A consequence of resisting a lack of clarity is that we may try to push a solution or an answer just for the sake of getting clarity. Vicki explains why this can be a problem. [12:37]
  • How can we cultivate the ability to tolerate being in a space or time of not knowing or lacking clarity about something? [15:30]
  • Vicki points out that not knowing, not having an answer, or not knowing what happens next can be frustrating, but explains that there’s no need for us to try to push for or orchestrate solutions or answers that aren’t yet available to us. [18:55]

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