Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Second Guessing

It's something I'm good at, I'm told. Quite frankly, I never really understood what it meant. I mean, everything is a guess, right? Each decision or choice is a guess- hopefully a best guess. So the second guess is the act of changing one's mind, right? Big deal. I always considered that to be a sign of open-mindedness, which is a good thing, right?

Now I'm not so sure.

The above sentence was a prime example of second guessing. Now I know this. While I was typing the sentence, I was not aware that it was "second guessing." I do it constantly, as habit.

Second guessing indicates lack of self-confidence rather than open-mindedness. As I attempt to strengthen my sense of self, it is necessary for me to break the habit of second guessing.

I am beginning to realize that second guessing is a precious waste of time and energy, and it creates negativity. Furthermore, in my case it is an act of selling out, of disregarding the self and its boundaries.

As a recent example, I have been busy preparing for a trip to the Pacific Northwest to apply for a job. I have a lot to do to prepare. My phone rings, I waffle about answering, I decide it might be The Child's school calling with a dire emergency, so I answer. It's no emergency- when was the last time a phone call was an emergency?- it was a Pest wanting me to go to dinner, and I said no, I am very busy, I can't make any frivolous plans over the next 3 weeks, and the Pest went on to say that a good steak dinner was probably exactly what I need to get the job, and I said, hmmm, maybe you're right, even though I don't eat meat, I'll have to see how The Child feels about me going out on a pseudo date- I'll get back to you after consulting with The Child......

See how easy it is for me to be talked out of my original decision, or boundary in this case? The Pest exerted very little effort to inspire my turnabout.

In retrospect, I see that it would have behooved me to stick to my guns. The Child is already feeling abandoned because I've been so intense about my job search. The truth is, I want The World to leave me alone for the next 3 weeks. Now I'm stuck with the burden of talking my way out of the steak dinner.

I am second guessing the travel plans I've made. There were many factors to consider, and I did the best I could. I have reserved the flight and hotel, and now I am busying myself with second guessing. Why did I choose such a late flight? What are my odds of being mugged when arriving at a strange city at midnight? How will I get to the hotel from the airport at that hour? The mass transit only runs until midnight...... What if the hotel sucks? Should I have shelled out $150 extra for the hotel I know to be acceptable?

OK, I'll stop. Now that I have some awareness of the omnipresence of second guessing in my life, I can watch for it and stop it.

Although, come to think of it, doesn't that mean I'll become arrogant and closed-minded?


Loving Annie said...

Good Tuesday morning to you, Betty :)

Second guessing hurts after the fact.

Analyzing all of your options before you make decisions is a good thing. Changing your mind if you realize something new can also be advantageous.

Being talked out of your plans - well, just go renegotiate - tell Pest 'thank you, but I choose to focus on my trip for the next 3 weeks. Maybe after I get back. I will let you know.'

Boundaries are different from second guessing.

My guess is you'll feel much better after you've called Pest.

And if you need to change your flight, and it'll make you more comfortable about it, then go ahead. Nothing is written in stone.

And I don't think you will be mugged if you go straight to the taxi stand that is usually always at an airport.

I would spend the money on an acceptable hotel just to ease your stress level if your bank account can reasonably accomodate that.

Good luck. Hope to hear from you after you get back in 3+ weeks that you got the new job, it pays well, you like the people, and all is well with you and The Child :)

Lynilu said...

Second guessing isn't bad. Well, unless you second guess several times (or would that be third, fourth, fifth and sixth guessing?). Then it becomes waffling and is paralyzing. But second guessing gives you the chance to weigh the facts and make the best decision for you.

The Pest .... Ah, I have one of those, too. I'm always skirting the issue rather than being direct because he catches me off guard every time. I've resolved and practiced how to deal with him the next time it comes up. So far I've "escaped" by dancing around it, but next time I'm going to say a thanks, but no thanks kind of thing, with words that hopefully aren't unkind. But that's *my* situation, not yours. However you handle it, good luck, and know I understand the situation.

And most of all, good luck, dear Betty, with your job search and the trip. Perhaps The Child is feeling slighted at this time, but allow yourself to accept that it is for the best in the long term.

Children are resilient, I promise. He is probably feeling uneasy about many things .... he is aware that you've lost your job; you are looking for another; you may move, there will be a new home, new friends, new everything; I'd guess the financial situation has changed in the home and has affected him; and on and on. He is probably in some turmoil now, but he will make it through this, as will you.

I'll keep you both in my heart as you step into this new chapter of your life. :)

Lynilu said...

BTW, late night at many airports, a security person or even a luggage handler are often willing to accompany you to a taxi. One place, I don't remember where, they called for a cab, then stood with me at the curb until it arrived. Ask!

Betty said...

Dear Annie,

My over-active imagination has me wondering if the cab driver is going to mug me. I chose the late flight because it would make it easier on The Child. But now I'm wondering if this was the best time for me to be thinking of The Child ahead of myself. It would cost extra to change the flight.

Well, I think I'm going to stick with it. I can change the hotel, however, and maybe I will.

Whenever I set a boundary, I then wonder whether it was "appropriate", but more importantly, I readily allow crossing of the boundaries, as if to admit that my needs don't matter.

But I'm working on it.


Betty said...

Dear Lynilu,

How can I be sure the cab driver won't mug me? Things happen late at night.....but there were many reasons for my choice- The Child's schedule, the airline for this flight, the connecting city (Denver vs. Chicago) so I have to just shut up and have faith. But I'm sure you're right- there will be people to help at the airport. It's a large city, so it shouldn't be deserted.

All I can say is, I hope I return with good news!


Laurie said...

You really OK? Just kidding. I
know what you mean. I try not to
second guess myself and all that
but, I do sometimes. Go with your
travel plans. Get away from things
for a while. I know easier said
than done but, I think you really
need a break.


Betty said...

Dear Laurie,

Yep, I'm going. Even though the trip is going to be high stress because of the job search, it's still a chance to get out of town!


simply me said...

Second guessing is a way of balancing our selves when having to make decisions. Weighing our options is a good thing.
Good luck to you on this job interview. I hope that your journey is a safe and productive one.
Stay positive.

Betty said...

Dear Simply Me,

Thank you for your support. This is the first job in my field that's become available since I lost my job! I am optimistic even though there will be many applicants.


Monogram Queen said...

Second guessing - I do it too! A little retrospective thinking doesn't hurt but obsessing and over-analyzing does. I wish you safe travel and arrival and hope The Child will be okay with any upcoming changes (NOT meaning the Pest). Tell Pest you'll take a raincheck on the steak dinner and can it be a vegetarian option instead? Does Pest know you don't eat meat???!

Anonymous said...

Heres hoping there will be good news! (No second guessing on that!)

Betty said...

Dear Patti,

Yeah- what I do is the over-analyzing- the damaging type!

Pest is one of those people who doesn't listen- or maybe it's more accurate to say he disregards......


Betty said...

Dear Shankari,

Yep, I'll second that!


Kacey said...

I don't know if it is second guessing or ambivalence...but, I feel that way all the time. I think you are very brave striking out in a new direction with the child to consider. I applaud you.

Mary Ann said...

If Pest doesn't know or remember that you don't eat meat, and yet he thinks the best thing for you is a big steak...then I'm thinking he'll soon forget that you turned him down for dinner. He's not that good at focusing, sounds like.

I do think "second-guessing" is just another word for thinking. You can think whatever you want, however you want. Your thoughts belong to you.

Anonymous said...