Changing your mind
A few years ago I stumbled over the following quote by Maria Popova: "Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind." A friend of mine was struggling with changing her mind about a job, more like a plan that she had mapped out for the next few years of her life but which somehow didn’t work for her any more.
I saw her being really torn between the commitments she had previously made and the wish for something exciting and new that crept up inside of her. And I realized that often I feel the same. That I feel weird when I want something one day (and most likely already talked about it to people) and really don’t want it the next day or three months later. I believe that it often is how I make my decisions. I need to speak about them. I must hear how they sound and feel how they feel. But I do feel weird about it because I consider people who stick to their decisions or commitment pretty grown up. Consequently I feel childish when I change my mind.
But is it actually true? Isn’t it more childish to hang on to something just because you decided it once?
Yesterday I bumped into someone I knew years ago and we had a little chat. He asked me: “Are you back for good?” and I said: “Yes, I think I am.” And he asked me:” Why? What happened?” And I thought to myself: “Life happens, doesn’t it?” And by the way, if really something had happened he wouldn’t have been the person to talk to about it.
A few months ago I told a friend that I could see myself living in Europe again and he said: “ Oh that is interesting. Last year it still sounded very different.” And I thought: “ Really? WTF? Last year when you were still dating another woman?” So why do I get so offended? Why does it trigger me?
I think it triggers me because it is uncomfortable. Laying out a plan to oneself and other people is just great, I love it. Changing it makes me uneasy as if I hadn’t done enough research before, neither in the books nor in my soul. It makes me feels immature. But what if changing your mind is actually the mature thing to do? What if choosing growth, moving places and careers, checking in with oneself and following the heart is what we are here for? I wonder where my fear of being judged comes from, my fear of appearing flighty?
Because I do admire people who change their mind a lot. The ones who end a relationship instead of clinging on to something that doesn’t work for him or her anymore. The ones who decide to stop supporting a certain football team because they get bored. The ones who decide to quit a job even if they don’t know what is next.
Changing your mind is a luxury but an uncomfortable one. Maybe it is not even a luxury but a normal process. I am in the middle of changing my mind right about something that I thought was pretty certain. Well, it was not. And as much as I am sorry because it involves other people, there is really nothing I can do about it. I feel guilty but under this blanket of guilt I do feel relief, freedom, excitement and a little happiness popping up and that is awesome! Changing ones mind might be uncomfortable or maybe we might just need to practice more. Because in changing one’s mind and being uncertain for a while lies the greatest opportunity for growth according to Maria Popova: It’s enormously disorienting to simply say, “I don’t know.” But it’s infinitely more rewarding to understand than to be right — even if that means changing your mind about a topic, an ideology, or, above all, yourself."