Monday, 7 May 2012

the theory of the clean slate

It is often said that the best predictor of future behaviour, is past behaviours.
Which surely is just a fancy way of saying
- once a cheater always a cheater
- relationship disasters mean more disastrous relationships
- a mug then, a mug now

Assuming that someone is aware of where they might have gone wrong in a relationship (and own that, and work on it) surely that rule doesn't apply?

I think there's no doubt that over a lifetime we can accumulate some pretty bad habits.  Sometimes we do stuff we're not even aware is unhealthy, or hurtful, or just plain stupid.  But apart from the few totally dangerous people out there (and yes I do think they are the minority), I reckon most people genuinely do want to be in strong, successful relationships.  Even the ones that proclaim they are unable to be/don't know how to be/have never been.  In fact I'd go so far to say that often the announcement that ''i am not good at relationships'' is really just a form of self protection - or maybe self denial?

Do you think this is true?  Do people change? CAN people change?

How do you get into, and then out of, the mindset that says once someone has messed up they can't go on to be successful in a relationship?   Is it realistic to argue that they just haven't ''found the right person yet'', or is this a cop-out? Is the person who says ''maybe I don't know what love is'' being honest, unrealistic, or genuinely unaware?

Does it stand that if you messed up once, or twice, or three times (!) that you're going to mess up again?

What happened to the idea of a clean slate/fresh start/new beginning?


  1. I too believe in second chances (or more). People are often way harder on themselves and others than they need to be.

    But I do think that it is really hard to bring yourself through to make a big change in your habits or way of thinking, and it's something that you have to do yourself, rarely can someone else help you with it. Often it's like a light switch going off, an "ah-ha!" moment that hits you deep down and gives you that strength to change.

  2. thanks MIW. Absolutely agree, and the first step is definitely recognising what needs to change. The second is committing to make that happen. Might be two steps forward and one back but it really is about wanting to make it happen.