Try Not Knowing, and Not Having to Know. Just for a while. See what happens.
Consciously changing your perspective is a powerful tool that you can use to relieve stress. The way you choose to think about something, or the perspective you hold about it, determines how you feel about it. This isn’t about making stuff up in a Pollyanna sort of a way, it’s about finding what else might be true, and consciously choosing to hold a perspective that helps you feel more empowered. Since there is a lot about menopause that is outside of our control, it’s important for us to get control of what we can, because it will help us to relieve overall stress. Here’s an example of a change of perspective. The perspective that most of us hold about hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is that we should know what to do. This perspective leads us to striving to figure it out, whatever decision we ultimately make. This sense of urgency and holding ourselves accountable for making the right decision creates stress. What if, instead, we hold the perspective that it is OK not to know? What if we give ourselves full permission to not know? Try it out. Someone asks you, “Are you going to use HRT?”
“I don’t know.”
“When will you know?”
“I don’t know when I’ll know.”
Uncomfortable? Seriously, we are not used to Not Knowing in this culture. It’s not an answer that is usually well-received, because those who love you want you to feel better. And you want to feel better. Here’s the paradox. When you give yourself complete permission to Not Know, until you do Know, it does two things. First, it gives you relief from the urgency, and from searching, figuring it out, trying to fix it right now. This gives you breathing room right away. Second, and even more important, when you let yourself Not Know, you create an inner white board of receptivity, and your intuition can begin to give you messages about what steps to take next. When you are truly willing to Not Know, you are open to that deeper part of yourself, your inner wisdom, guiding you. Then you listen for inner nudging and inspirations. It takes practice and courage to be in the space of Not Knowing, but, paradoxically, most often, the right routes and solutions come faster when you give yourself that space. So, experiment with it. Try Not Knowing, and Not Having to Know. Just for a while. See what happens.
Lynne Fairchild is a Professional Certified Coach who helps women navigate midlife and menopause at http://wayfindingcoach.com/.