Old for New

Alright, I'm gonna connect two things that don't have any connection whatsoever so... read the entire post!

You ever heard of the term "old for new"? Its something you might here an older person say when describing how the latest punishment of a person may seem too severe for their most recent wrongdoing; The person is getting heavily punished for all the old stuff they did even though the new "crime" wasn't really that bad. Example: You're 15 years old and you break your 10 o'clock curfew. Your mother comes downstairs and LOOSES CONTROL ON YOU! What you didn't know is that 2 weeks ago, your school had called her cell phone and told her that you have been late to school every day this year... and SHE drops you off... Yeah... She's been holding that in for a while now - Old for new. Example 2: Michael Vick did the "Ron Mexico" stuff, allegedly had weed in his water bottle at the airport, and murdered people on the football field (sorry, I couldn't resist). When he got caught up with the dogfighting ring, rather than getting some rehab and a slap on the wrist like MOST celebs of his caliber would have gotten, he gets prison time. They made sure to make up for the other stuff he should have went down for - Old for new.

Why did I start thinking about this, you ask? I was reading this article about an accused cop killer and, a lil more than half way down the article, they started going into his legal records... He started out by bringing a knife to school at 10 and has been having legal troubles ever since. I said to myself at that point "even if this guy DIDN'T kill the cop, which he more than likely did, he is going DOWN!" But that thought doesn't make sense... If he didn't do the crime, should he be punished for being perceived as a "bad" person? Isn't it possible that he may have changed his life for the better since the last time time he appeared in court?

And then I got to thinking... We do this to people in relationships ALL THE TIME!

Honestly ask yourself this question, if you've been in multiple relationships where lying was the norm, wouldn't that alter how you deal with the new person? Wouldn't you at least watch them with a more careful eye even though they hadn't done anything? Let's get extreme but real at the same time: Is it fair to become suspicious of the new person who chooses to keep their phone locked just because the last person had messages from other people they were "getting to know" when they were currently in a relationship with you? Does the new person get screamed at about taking too long to get home because the last person used "working late on a project" time to cheat? Is the new person automatically accused of lying about wanting to wait a while to get to know you before they allowed you in their home because the last person who didn't invite you over immediately for "late night rendezvous" had another family? Its kinda sad, but we often harshly punish the new person for a new "crime" that they may not even be guilty of because of repeat offenders who have gotten away with old "crimes" that have occurred in our past.

So how do we fix this? How long do we give somebody the benefit of the doubt for all this questionable activity? I say use the number 2 for new people. 2 months is about the time that it takes to differentiate what's a part of a person's every day lifestyle/character and what is just an act of kindness/foolishness done by that person at a particular moment in time. Please understand that learning from your past is ABSOLUTELY necessary; just remember not to allow your past to consume your thought process and, as a result, destroy your future.

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