Second thoughts… I’ve had them since I remember myself. I can never adhere to one idea, or accept one point of view. I always see two sides to every argument, I have second thoughts about every action I take, every decision I make.
I always envy people, who are one hundred percent sure of their convictions. It doesn’t matter whether I agree or disagree with them, I just envy their ability to shut down arguments of the opposite side. It’s not like I don’t have a definite opinion about things or have an amorphous belief system, I do have strong views about some things…in my own freaky way. I simply can hear contradicting opinions as well. And some of them make sense to me.
Take the recent presidential election, for example. I was one of those despised undecided voters who didn’t know who they will vote for until they came into the voting booth. I envied the Trump and Clinton supporters, who picked the side and firmly stayed with it. I couldn’t do it. Some arguments that came from the camps of both candidates made sense to me, and some didn’t. But I just couldn’t place myself in the specific camp.
Yes, Trump won, but didn’t he run as an against-the-system candidate? How does it make sense than, that it’s the system of electoral college that made him a president, not the majority of voters? And becoming a president, hasn’t he become a part of the system he eviscerated during the campaign? Now, when he is a part of the very system he wanted to ‘clean’, didn’t he fill his transition team with the people that were very much part of that system for many years?
On the other side, Hillary, who theoretically was the system (Democratic party) candidate, seemingly went against her core constituency by suggesting things like getting rid of coal industry, which cost her Pennsylvania, and calling Trump supporters ‘a basket of deplorables’, which probably cost her a few hundred thousands of potential voters as well. Regardless what you think about her, those weren’t the smartest things to say on the campaign trail, and the system punished her for it.
Another example is faith. I think I believe in God. Not in the specific God, mind. Every belief system has a right to exist and every interpretation is evocative to some group of people. I would love to belong to any of these groups. For the first time in my life I bitterly regretted not to be among the faithful after September 11. Religious people went to their temples and found solace communicating with their respective Gods. But there was no solace for me. I always thought that the doubting Thomas was the most real character in the Bible, because he had to see something in order to believe in it, and only after receiving verifiable proof was he able to truly surrender himself to the wonder of devotion. I guess I am still waiting for some kind of proof to come my way.
I really do think there is a difference between not knowing what one wants and understanding consequences of each choice. It’s true that sometimes the result of both ways of thinking is sitting on one’s butt and not doing anything, but the reasoning is totally different. In one case it’s passive, in another case, it’s active. Active thinking and weighing of the consequences will ultimately result in some kind of action, so it’s ok if it takes more time to figure out what that action should be.
There are very few things in my life that I don’t have second thoughts about. Everything is up for a discussion, everything is a subject to change. Does it make me a weak person? I don’t think so. I think this quality makes me more aware of other people around me, their thoughts and needs. Nevertheless, I do have strong one sided opinions about certain things. For example, I think that a man, who assaults a woman, or abuses a child has no right to walk this earth. A woman, who hurts a child should not be allowed near another human being, because nothing is worth the tears of that one tortured child. Other than that, I will hear everything, weigh my options, wrestle with the second thoughts and most likely will make a decision at the end, or change the one I already made (if I can). It doesn’t mean that it will be the right decision, just the one that I was most comfortable with at the specific time…