Sometimes I find myself walking on the street, or sitting comfortably on my couch, with thoughts running through my head like a strong wind. Often just random thoughts but sometimes thoughts that challenge me to really think about things. Things like my life and why I live it the way I do. One day I found myself contemplating all those times when I’ve turned back on my word.
So, this is a story of how I changed my mind… Many times.
Do you ever consider how many times a week on average you go ”I would never…!”? I did consider this once. And that one time was enough because I realized how many of the ”I would never!”-things I had actually done.
Those of you, who have hung around this blog for a while already, know that I communicate very strongly and am quite straight-forward. So, when I say ”I would never!” it is said quite adamantly and with the purpose of making myself abundantly clear. So much so that when I’ve eventually broken my own word everybody’s been there to remind me of how I said ‘I’d never’. Awkward.
Here’s a few (seriously, just very few of the) things on which I’ve been absolutely adamant on never doing:
- Dating a guy who smokes.
- Dating a guy who didn’t finish the army (which is compulsory in Finland).
- Dating a guy who was jobless.
I even remember how we were walking to school with my best friend when we listed all the aspects of a man that we would never condescend to date. Funny how my second boyfriend ticked every single one of the aforementioned boxes. I realized I had to take a bit of a look in the mirror at that point. But did it stop me from swearing ”I’d never!”? Oh no!
Other things I’ve sworn not to do and then broken my word include, but are not limited to;
- I will never move back to Finland! (So far I’ve moved back twice and probably will again some day.)
- I will never dress in all black, unless it’s a funeral (It’s been known to happen couple times a year in the past 2 years.)
- I would never move anywhere because of a man (I’m about to.)
- I will never wear the same shoes or carry the same bag two days in a row (Did so all January-February, due to weather not permitting any other shoes…)
- I will never stay in Estonia longer than a year! (It’s been 3 years and counting…)
And the list goes on and on and on…
It’s actually quite embarrassing to go back on your own word and do the things that you’d sworn never to do. There’s this aura of ’failure’ and ’weakness’ surrounding changing one’s mind. Take politicians, for example; how outrageous is it if one of them changes their mind on something. No matter if the change of mind might actually benefit the majority of people, you included.
Why is that? Do we cringe at the thought because the people who constantly change their minds represent indecisiveness and ‘bad leadership’ to us? Perhaps are even untrustworthy because they may not believe in a cause for eternity.
Or are we afraid that people who change their minds often may not benefit us in doing so. Because surely the people who benefit us, by making decisions that coincide with ours, are much safer to hang around with, right?
It is easier to pretend we live in a world full of black and white choices, I sure am guilty of this every now and then. But we all also know that in reality that’s not the case; the world is made out of different shades of every single colour visible to the human eye and nothing is ever, ever black and white.
Every single choice and decision you make has an effect on the people and events around you. There will always be people who will disagree with you and there will always be people who agree with you. And there will always be that enormous group of people who couldn’t give a toss on what you decide.
So, how can we de-demonize the aura of changing one’s mind, and instead embrace the freedom of being able to do so? Because it is a freedom that many of us tend to overlook.
First off we should admit to ourselves that changing your mind is one of the basic freedoms we have become accustomed to and take for granted.
For me, living in a country where still 10 years ago expressing a differing opinion on pretty much anything, let alone changing you mind, could’ve gotten you into deep trouble, acts as a constant reminder of this freedom. Knowing myself, if I had been born in a totalitarian culture, I would probably not have made it over my teen years, being as opinionated as I always have been.
Secondly, have you ever realized that changing one’s mind is healthy and, in fact, often better than stubbornly trying to force your own way. For example, changing your mind means that you are able to listen to other’s opinions and views, and to evaluate your own views in the light of this new information.
The thought process, that changing one’s mind often requires, automatically improves your psychological health and, in the long run, sets you up for achieving much more than those who are unable to admit that their opinion isn’t as holy a thing as they may have imagined.
On the same note, being able to change one’s mind also shows strength of character: think of a situation where you’re participating in a project and you have a clear idea of how everything should be done.
But when someone tells you that actually, from the legal or schedule-point of of view your plan can’t be implemented, are you able to take this new information in the context of the project, and put the project’s successful execution ahead of your own pride?
If yes, congratulations! Your self-esteem is intact and you are a strong character who is able to bounce back from a minor setback.
We live the information-age, which means that we are bombarded with new revelations almost every day. In the olden days, when there was no internet, no television or radio, folk used to live by all kinds of ‘teachings’ and sayings stemming from their family or educators.
Such things as ‘women are too unstable to have a right to vote because they bleed once a month‘ and ‘men should never take part in house work because it’s below their dignity‘. A lot of minds have had to change under pressure from all the information pouring in at an increasing speed as new technologies are invented to enhance learning and to spread that new information, proving those ancient assumptions WRONG.
We have the ability and the freedom to change our minds, so let’s embrace it! I mean, there’s no denying, as women we’re gonna do it anyway ;)
“I’m a woman! I have a right to change my mind.”
– Sidney Sheldon