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see_turtle's avatar

Is it possible to look back on an event that you once said made you smile and feel disgusted that you could have thought so?

Asked by see_turtle (31points) June 8th, 2010

I was in a relationship in which certain behaviors were deemed acceptable. I said at one point that there was a memory that made me smile during my last relationship to the girl I was dating. I am in a relationship now that has made me realize there was a lot that was wrong with my outlook. I behaved in ways that were irresponsible and disrespectful. My current girlfriend feels I can’t change my mind about how I feel about my last situation. Do you think it’s possible to change one’s perspective on events in the past given what one has come to know/understand in the present?

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14 Answers

bunnygrl's avatar

Yes, of course. Life is, or should be a journey, from the person we are in childhood to the person we become in old age. The more we experience, the more we learn, and it would be very strange indeed if our opinions didn’t change along the way. If we were to die the same person we were born, well, what was the point? I look back, even 10 or 15 years and am appalled sometimes at things I’ve said, or things that I allowed to happen to me without screaming from the rooftops about it. I would now, but then I’m not that little mouse any longer.
hugs xx

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Of course.
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them”-Aristotle

bunnygrl's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille GA and I love the quote <hugs>

Merriment's avatar

I think I see where your girlfriend is coming from. You say the memory made you smile…and I’m guessing that you girlfriend saw this, understandably, as meaning it was a happy memory. Then said girlfriend went on to tell you how irresponsible and disrespectful you had really been back in the day. It’s possible she doubts the sincerity of your change in perspective since it wasn’t fueled by your own self-discovery but rather her frowning face of disapproval.

It is very possible that you can look back at memories of youthful mistakes, even ones that brought you pleasure, and realize they weren’t as wholesome as you would wish. Our ability to do this is usually accompanied by waves of humiliation at first and then by acceptance for our silly selfs. And yes, you can change your present perspective based on that.

bunnygrl's avatar

@Merriment well said and GA <hugs> this kind of stuff is what made me love philosophy at uni.

partyparty's avatar

Walking the road of life, learning as we go along, can only make us stronger and wiser.
We learn by our mistakes.

MissA's avatar

Of course you can. It’s called maturity and/or growth.

If you have a girlfriend who is attempting to make you feel guilty…for any reason…you may reconsider your choice of girlfriends. Maybe, until she matures a bit.

stemnyjones's avatar

Yes. There are moments that I once looked back on that made me smile, but now that I am smarter and can see the situation from a clear point of view unblemished by the “puppy love” that you feel in all new relationships, I realize how stupid I was that I let him play me that way and really, sincerely thought that the mean things he was doing were actually the ways that he expressed his love.

evandad's avatar

Of course it is, but you can’t do it for her.

ninjacolin's avatar

It’s called “having a change of heart” or more formally “conversion.” Many people strongly believed there was a santa clause at one time and now they don’t. Similarly, many people once loved someone who they now hate.

Conclusions aren’t immutable. New experiences and new information alter our beliefs/conclusions about things. The more you learn the more you know.. and conclusions are the result of whatever it is you now know.

SmashTheState's avatar

I’m 42 years old. When I was a child, stores here sold little black licorice candies in the shape of infants. These were called “nigger babies.” I’m not making this up. Google it, if you don’t believe me. When I was young, racism was totally casual and normalized. People told ethnic jokes, threw around racial epithets, and characterized entire continents of people with racist, stereotyped cliches like “they smell” or “they’re lazy.” (This sort of stuff still occurs, of course, but it’s not considered to be “normal.” Racism has been driven largely underground, and when it occurs, it doesn’t occur casually.)

I look back on my behaviour in those days and cringe. I used the same language and told the same jokes as everyone else. I thought it was funny. I didn’t know any better, and neither did anyone else. It’s painful for me to remember going into a convenience store and asking for ten cents worth of “nigger babies.” So yes, I think everyone has those “ohmygod, did I really once consider that to be normal/funny/acceptable?” feelings. And they’re probably good, since they’re a sign you’ve grown as a person.

Trillian's avatar

We are continually receiving and processing information. We also continue to age, so the distance between ourselves and events grows greater through time. This in itself a change in perspective. The immediacy of an event is altered from; just now, to yesterday, to last year, to ten years ago.
One cannot help but to change, or to have one’s perspective changed.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Yes….it’s called the experience of humility learned through painful growth.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@Merriment said what I was thinking as did @evandad.
I will add through my own experiences that understanding a situation, like reading these answers and going, “ahh yeah I can see how that is…” is very different than believing/accepting it in your own particular instance.

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