Home | Human Flourishing | Personal Development | Freedom of Choice
BY: T. Franklin Murphy | August 2018 (edited February 22, 2022)
Our futures are not set in stone. We can adjust the outcome, work through current consequences from the past and set our lives on a better trajectory.
We have a choice. Our futures are not determined. Tomorrow is a new day (not free from the past), but an opportunity to redirect our direction and experience a brighter future. A few better choices don’t magically erase a mischievous past—consequences will not be cheated. We must face the reckoning from misdeeds done. The past will impact the present. We gain wisdom from the trials; but only when open to the lessons taught. But futures are not set; we can intervene, changing the narrow trajectories from exacting punishments to bounteous blessings.
If your current trajectory is not palatable, you should examine your current circumstances, exposing destructive adaptations, and pesky feelings pushing for harmful reactions. Once identified, we can mindfully address issues, while simultaneously working through the difficult lingering consequences. This is difficult. The person plotting a course of change must draw sufficient resources to maintain true to their goal while forming a more desirable life.
Neglected lives may require retying the frayed bonds of trust at home, at work, and with institutions. A momentary desire to repair a shattered life doesn’t immediately heal relationships that we trampled. Trust often requires years, not months, to re-establish. A hurt spouse may continue to scrutinize behaviors, fearing another devastating betrayal long after confessions, sorrow and beginnings of change.
"You can break through old limits, past inertia and fear, to... richness of choice, freedom, human closeness."
Many relationships fail to recover; the conscientious repentance, followed with loyalty may not receive the blessing of trust, our work is then complicated acting right but not receiving the blessing. This is the pain of a lingering past. Hurtful actions sting and naturally create new barriers.
The best predictor of the future is the past. To change we must draw sufficient strength to remain committed, not allowing the difficult course to erode determination. We must continue, if we want change. Bankruptcy stays on your record for seven-years; infidelity—maybe longer.
When we break trust, going back on our word, we don’t shouldn't adapt to other’s hesitancy by making new promises, marked with stronger assurances. "This time" we emphatically argue, "will be different." The promiser believes they will keep the new promise. This why they are so convincing. Yet, most these promises are made in deals where they receive their reward first and promise to uphold their end of the bargain later.
These words lay hollow. But stronger promises upfront is often the first inclination to past breaches. Trying to repair broken trust with stronger promises; unfortunately “this time,” will most likely not be different. If the heart hasn’t changed, the importance of the promise will lose its power, once the benefit is received.
Rebuilding the Relationship Through Keeping Promises with No Upfront Demands
Relationships must be rebuilt with kindness, giving with out an expectation of return or an upfront cost. Trueness to our words slowly creates the character, shedding the old self we tarnished.
"If you can't do the little things right, you will never do the big things right."
Doing right doesn’t magically erase the past but as new behaviors accumulate, we create brighter futures. New opportunities present themselves. We can burn the new bridges too if we failed to learn from the damaging choices of the past. We must accept the past, for it is done, and love the present because it is here and patiently work towards a future of richness and joy.
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