The Power of Uncertainty

I was journaling today and wrote down a realization I had about the way I talk. As we grow, of course, we pick up certain speech patterns and phrases and let others fade away. For a while, my answer to everything was “absolutely”- I attribute it to working in the service industry and showing absolute willingness. But onto the phrase that I noticed coming up more and more in my conversations.

Or at least, that’s what it seems like to me.

I add it to the end of so many statements. Whether I’m being asked about a friend’s relationship troubles, or a certain sentence in the holy word or current events.

I don’t mean to do it and it wasn’t until after reflecting on it this morning that I realized how powerful it was. I feel compelled to say it, like this extra, add-on sentence is just as important as the “meat” of what I just said or the answer to the question I was asked. The first power I saw of it was how it’s an invitation for the person I’m speaking to, to ruminate on it. To take my opinion and use it as just one resource in their quest of discovery. To have them go deeper.

Then, later, I noticed how freeing it was for me. In consultation, you’re supposed to be absolutely honest, each party puts everything on the table and together you build something out of it to share. But I find with having anxiety (social or otherwise) sometime’s it’s scary to let your ideas be heard. This statement is my personal security blanket- it makes clear that I’m not ready to fall or bend over backwards for my interpretation, or that I want someone to concede to my obviously superior understanding. It makes my statement feel softer, more malleable in my mouth.

Afterwards, I did my daily meditation on my Calm app, and after each session it gives you an image of an inspiring quote.

quote BR wise doubts.png

I’m a fan of Bertrand Russell, he was a thoughtful philosopher and an influential mathematician. But more to the point, this quote of his brought my swirling ideas about soft opinions into focus. It is foolish to not question. It’s forbidding yourself to grow. That is why the wise doubt, they’ve been doubting their way into wisdom. Allow yourself to be uncertain, and allow others to be uncertain too.

The fact is that we only get one perspective, everything we see is just from one viewpoint and it’s the tiniest fraction of what’s in God’s eye. If we remember that, we can move with gentleness, act with humbleness, and be better people, or at least that’s what it seems like to me.

A Half-Hollow Reed