January 30, 2015
I just listened to a replay of a mastermind call discussing the state of “ambivalence”. So interesting that many of us perceive “ambivalence” as “being stuck”. When we’re being ambivalent, the situation is typically about something that we don’t like or want and it feels like we don’t know what to do. I wonder if we really don’t know what to do or we do know, we just don’t like our options. The choices often occur to us as polar opposites and neither extreme feels quite right.
Or we have a sense of the direction we want to go, but to move in that direction is so uncertain that we defer making the decision, even if our current situation is not satisfying or working. It seems more comfortable to forgo the possibility and stay with what we know.
As I reflect on this, ambivalence seems like a subtle form of “resignation”… that sense of hopelessness and inability to make a change. When we’re resigned, we see the situation as fixed and immutable. Perhaps the difference between resignation and ambivalence is that with ambivalence I have sense that things could change, but I’m afraid to move. Action means either letting go of something or moving towards a future state that is uncertain.
So what’s missing that has us be “stuck in place”? As noted it’s that fear of the unknown. And more likely there is the fear that we simply won’t be able to handle what will arise as we take those first steps away from what we know.
Perhaps what we fail to fully appreciate is that any change will generate feelings of loss and uncertainty. Managing the transition takes courage, fortitude and most importantly trust in ourselves. Trust that we are taking the right steps. Trust that we have family and friends to support us. And trust that we are here to make some difference…that life is not about staying small and safe.
Equally as important is to have compassion – compassion for ourselves and where we find ourselves “stuck”. So as you contemplate those situations where you feel ambivalent, unsure as to what to do…. take a breath, look inward and be curious about your experience. Ask yourself, what can I learn from this situation? How will this learning help me in future situations?