Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Past experience

"I think we react to our past experiences until they're replaced with new experiences."
A friend said that to me when we were talking about this guy. I was feeling a little bad for leaping to the conclusion that he was lying - but, as I pointed out, that's sort of what I'm used to from men at this point.

I met someone new this weekend. A nice first date. The next day I found myself wondering and doubting and getting angry. The details of why aren't important - what is important is that I realized this is not the person I want to be.

Sure, past experience dictates that this guy will probably fade away like the others. It dictates he's probably lying, not really that into me, and probably not the one.

But he isn't past experience. He's present - potentially future - experience. It doesn't do me any good to react to him as though he's those other guys. All that will accomplish is me turning him into those guys in my own mind.

Somehow, I have to find a way to learn lessons from past experiences without allowing them to shade the present.

It's a tall order. If experience teaches you that getting hopeful means you'll end up heartbroken, the natural reaction is not to hope. If you learn that trusting people means you'll fall for more lies, you eventually start to shut down and not trust.

Certainly, you don't want to ignore the lessons. Every person who comes in to our life shows up for a reason. A lot of times, that reason is so that we can learn - what to look for, what makes sense, what makes us happy. How we can handle things in the future, and balance our hearts with our heads.

Maybe the biggest lesson of all is that, in the end, you have to judge each relationship on its own merits. That your past experience have shaped you - not this new person. Use them to decide what you want, what works for you - and what doesn't.

Use your experience to help decide what you want - not to judge the next person. If you find a way to be true to yourself, the truth about your next relationship will show up on its own.

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