1. The check is in the mail
2. I will love you forever
3. I'm from the government and I'm here to help.
These are the three biggest lies ever told, or so the joke goes.
#2 always jumps out at me though because it makes me think of an old ex-girlfriend who used to tell me this all the time. We were both 15 or 16 at the time, so I blame it on youth, however I really believed her.
Then of course she left me for someone else three years later.
It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that her leaving me was my fault. Yes, she had cheated on me years before, but I made the decision to stay with her through that. However, I opted to never really forgive her for cheating on me, and reminded her that she cheated on me about as often as G.I. Joe reminded us that "knowing was half the battle". Which was every god damn episode.
You see, even though Lori promised me that she would love me forever (and never leave me), no matter what, every promise comes with a caveat, or a "weight".
She couldn't love me and stay with me forever when the relationship turned unhealthy and I was being a dick to her day in and day out. Eventually the weight of that promise crumbled under those things. It's not that she didn't want to break her promise, I believe. It's that she felt I left her with no other choice.
There's an old saying that goes...."Never make a decision when you're angry, never make a promise when you're happy."
These two sayings really play well together. Most often, we make our most rash decisions and choices when emotions are at a boiling point. That's the time when we break those promises or compromise our own values or things we value, because we get overrun by a stampede of estrogen or testosterone filled emotional bulls, and fly off the handle. Often times we break those promises because we're just trying to quell a fear and the response we need in order to have that done, isn't being met. So we take the easy way out, and remove ourselves from the "oath" we gave.
"Didn't you promise him/her you wouldn't do that?"
"Yeah, but you know what, they did X,Y, or Z so I don't give a fuck."
Probably a conversation you've been on both sides of at some point.
On the flip side, we often make our most bold promises to people when we are happy, or elated with them or a situation. It's easy to lose oneself in bliss and elation and start talking like a politician, promising a roof over every head and no new taxes.
The problem with breaking promises, more times than not, is that it's guided by a negative energy that we have created through experience or conditioning. And by conditioning, I don't mean with a weighted vest. Though I could use that as an analogy here.
What I mean by conditioning, is that people aren't really that different. So once you encounter a pattern of behavior with enough people enough times, you start to become aware of "what may come next". In your desperation "not to be outdone first" or "not to be fucked over first", you break your promises for self preservation.
"I refuse to let that dickhead/bitch break up with me first."
"I refuse to let that person get the better of me. So I will fuck them over before they can fuck me over!"
This is generated by the conditioning of our past, and the fear associated with reliving it.
Who wants to get fucked over, or broken up with first, or be stolen from, or have any of those things happen to them when they could just break a promise and avoid it?
The problem is, eventually you never learn how to do anything BUT wait for the negative outcome. You condition yourself to the point that you find things happening, that aren't really happening. You can't see what is really happening in front of you, because you've already convinced yourself that they are doing what other people have done. Maybe they are, but maybe they aren't and you are just jaded too.
I think more times than not, we get shaped in our youth by such actions of emotional treason, and we never completely recover from it. People often carry the burdens of past relationships and "fuckings over" well into their adulthood, and beyond, often times to the grave. Most psychologists can trace problems someone is having in life, love, and relationships all the way back to their grade school years or youth.
In a sense, we never grow up, emotionally. We know and say all the right things, don't we? We know all the little mottos and we offer up superlative advice about dealing with problems, friendships, romances, and people however our own application of said wisdom, is usually about as solid as a shit after a a healthy dose of Turbo Lax.
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We don't want to be the one hurt, or taken advantage of, therefore we feel the need to make the decision to beat the other person to the punch, so to speak. So then what happens? That person gets conditioned to this as well, and simply repeats the behavior done to them. So round and round we go.
I understand how easy it can be to make a promise to a beautiful woman when you're looking into her eyes and have tingling sensations in your no-no parts. It's later when she pisses you off or you piss her off, that you find it so easy to make a judgmental decision that can haunt you forever.
It's the same with friends and friendship. If you live long enough, you'll undoubtedly encounter a friend or two that doesn't always have the friendships best interest in mind, and you'll part ways.
So how do we break these chains and cycles of being jaded and stop being conditioned by our past?
Welllllll, let's throw out a few to practice.
1. Don't make decisions when angry.
This is what gets us in "I'm sorry" mode and "please forgive me" mode. The best way to avoid this all together is not to make a statement or decision about any relationship or problem, when you're pissed off. Especially when both of you are, because often times, you're just looking for an easy answer and the other person isn't supplying it. That's because they are pissed off too. As the saying goes "cool heads prevail". Let your head cool before you decide to make a choice, or break a promise.
2. Never go to bed angry.
Even if you have to put your problems aside, try to NOT go to bed angry at someone or let them do the same. A simple text or message of "look, we're not getting this done right now and I want to make it right. Can we talk in the morning?" is usually enough.
3. Let a wound heal
For those of you who fall into the "I like to beat a dead horse" category when comes to arguing, this is for you. Most people who do this, do so because they really want resolution immediately but aren't patient enough to let it happen naturally. So they pick and pick and pick and pick, but the problem is, sometimes you have to leave a scab alone for a while before it can really heal. The same goes for emotional scabs. You need to sometimes back off, and not "talk it to death" in order to let that wound heal. A rule of thumb that worked well for Tiff and I, was if we had an ongoing issue, we could only discuss it for 30 minutes at a certain time each day. Sounds strange, but it REALLY works. And it works fast. If you're a beat a horse to death kinda arguer, give it a try.
4. Be cool, don't be an asshole.
This one is harder to apply at times because again, as your emotions get the better of you. Don't let your demons make choices that your angels will have to pay for later. I'm always reminded of that scene in Pulp Fiction where Jules keeps telling the dude in the breakfast place "tell that bitch be cool! Say "bitch be cool!""
As I've said, cooler heads always prevail, and it's hard to keep a cool head when you won't let the temperature of a discussion or argument die down. It's ok to walk away, get some ice cream or a doughnut, and then come back and discuss it under calmer conditions. I mean, who can be pissed off eating ice cream? It's difficult. I know.
So when you feel like being an asshole the most, remind yourself not to be a little bitch, and just be cool. This will serve you well through about 99% of your problems in life and relationships with people. If you don't think so, even Moses said it............
Number 3 is vital. VERY vital. And yes....cool heads prevail. I keep one and usually end up seeing where I fucked up at.ReplyDelete
In the end he only had two commandments lol. Awesome post Paul, learning to curb prejudgements based on the past literally changed my relationships(for the better) but it's a lifetime battle to keep being open to new possibilities.ReplyDelete
I just wanna say this is a very insightful post and very reflective of something I just went through myself thanks alot for writing this.ReplyDelete
I think that this needs to be prefaced with the concept of "as long as it doesn't violate your core principals." If someone in a relationship, friendship, or whatever steps beyond the rule of what I'm willing to negotiate, then no amount of not going to bed angry is going to help. I can see where there are times that we force people into certain behavior, but there all also times where we're being used. There are a few basic things in life that I'm simply not willing to compromise on, and it doesn't matter who has crossed that line. There is no coming back.ReplyDelete
Wow! This post is deep. There is a major psychological reasoning behind what you're blogging about. And the women who pioneered it is famous for it. But, of course, I can't remember her name. :(ReplyDelete
Are you sure you just work in IT?
Yup. Just write from the heart and the head....sometimes the right one too.Delete
Wise words , thanksDelete
Although if at that age (15-16) you remained together for three more years, that in itself is pretty darn impressive. "Forever" at 15 translates into a year at best, 6 months is more likely :)
You should write an ebook only about your life philosophies and thoughts. Its too interesting to write about just as a supplement to a training ebookReplyDelete
I'm in agreement with Clinton, I enjoy reading your philosophies on life and such. I find I can really reflect on them and hopefully practice them in my life. Thanks for this!ReplyDelete
"Be cool, don't be an asshole"ReplyDelete
Now that I have two kids and have been teaching for 18 years, this is the saying that I try to follow the most. I use this when dealing with students and their parents. It's very easy being a dick, and I see other teachers do it all the time.
It can be very hard at times. Even online. Where you have guys on message boards constantly talking shit even though they don't contribute in any way to furthering peoples knowledge and have no lifts to speak of. I love those guys.Delete
You are the Zen master of lifting!!ReplyDelete