Naturally, life and human behavior can be both predictable and unpredictable. In relationships uncertainty is closely tied to vulnerability. “What ifs and How comes?” are questions that surface and recycle themselves both in our minds and in our hearts.
Therefore, to define uncertainty I like to reference Brené Brown’s research on vulnerability:
“I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. With that definition in mind, let’s think about love. Waking up every day and loving someone who may or may not love us back, whose safety we can’t ensure, who may stay in our lives or may leave without a moment’s notice, who may be loyal to the day they die or betray us tomorrow—that’s vulnerability.”
Simply put, uncertainty is a form of vulnerability and courage. We do, hope and love in spite of our fears. The challenge with uncertainty is that there are no promises, no guarantees or assurances. It can truly trigger fear in us which can lead to a fight or flight response. We can feel both activated and powerless at the same time.
That is not to say that we don’t like uncertainty. To some degree it actually brings variety and spontaneity to life which can be delightful and fun. But, in some cases, too much uncertainty can leave us feeling insecure and doubtful.