It’s not that we’re naive or preoccupied with happily-ever-after, but who doesn’t prefer that to a disaster? It’d be brutal going through life anticipating worst-case scenarios instead of hoping for positive outcomes. So whether it’s friends, opportunities, risks or relationships, we want to give it the benefit of the doubt. We want to believe that this time things won’t go awry. This person won’t screw us over like someone else did before. This leap of faith will have a safe landing. This love won’t result in a shredded heart.
There’s something about putting all of your eggs in one basket that’s terrifying. Once you’re all in, fully invested, you’ve relinquished so much power and control that it feels like your happiness or fate are in someone or something else’s hands. So once you’ve done that and had it blow up in your face, you can’t erase the experience. It’s embedded in your memory and the next time a similar scenario presents itself, the first thing you’ll think about is what happened before.
It’s never good to dwell or keep records to use negatively. We have to give the “new” a fair shake. Well we don’t have to, but we should. Why? Because it’s new. New wasn’t the previous opportunity that failed, or the love prospect that crushed your heart into tiny pieces. New is its own thing. Ideally we would take the unsuccessful experiences of the past and filter out the emotionally daunting aspects, using only the facts and details of what happened to do better this time. Unfortunately that’s teetering on the fine line between extremely difficult and literally impossible. However, as clouded as our judgment is we still think that this time will be different.
Some may call that foolish. They consider once or twice enough, so they’ll close the doors to opportunity and build up the walls to stave people off, because the past showed them that that’s the least vulnerable option. And really it is. If you don’t try for that dream job because the other ones didn’t hire you, you’ll never feel the disappointment of not getting it. If you keep distance between yourself and that girl/guy who cares for you because someone else hurt you, they’ll never be close enough to snatch your heart and damage it. But by same token you won’t ever experience that dream job or wonderful love without gambling in life’s casino. No risk, no reward or high risk, high reward? I’ll take my money on the one that has a chance at extraordinary outcomes.
I don’t suggest anyone play the role of Charlie Brown, continuously trusting Lucy even though she moves the football every time you try to kick it. All I’m saying is that if someone else holds a ball, don’t not attempt to kick it based on Lucy being a complete scumbag. Hold out hope that this time will turn out better. This time will be different. And you may be wrong about this time, the next time and even the one after that. But the only way we’re going to experience anything different is if we endure however many letdowns it takes. It’s just a matter of having hope. Because I don’t know that any of us really think this time will be different so much as we hope that it is.