How We Use Fresh Starts To Avoid Our Flaws
“A fresh start.” Sounds nice, right? But when was the last time you heard someone use that term? Who last told you that she needed a fresh start? I’d bet good money on the possibility that it was somebody leaving some drama. Maybe a crappy relationship. Maybe a living situation where things had turned sour with a roommate. Perhaps a job, where all of her coworkers “suddenly” hated her “for no reason.” I’d be willing to guess something else about this person: she needs fresh starts a lot. Using the term “fresh start” almost doesn’t apply to her life because she doesn’t stick around in any situation long enough for it to become stale. That’s the thing about fresh starts—they are often a crutch for individuals who are unwilling to do personal work or reflect on their mistakes. Do you use fresh starts to avoid your own flaws? Here are some ways it’s possible.
The same old relationship
Those who repeat the same patterns in relationships are often looking for a fresh start. Maybe someone is always attracted to the a**hole, narcissistic types, then she becomes angry that she can’t squeeze a drop of love or tenderness out of them, then it all turns into a screaming match. Maybe plates are smashed and tires are slashed. Perhaps someone keeps finding broken men she thinks she can save, but winds up feeling tired of playing a therapist. Even though…she knew he was depressed when she entered this thing.
New relationship: same man
Suddenly, she’s looking for a fresh start…again. Suddenly, she’s aggressively going on first dates and on every dating app. But, really, this person tends to just look for a person very similar to her last partner. Essentially, she wants to take a crack at the same project again, but she convinces herself it’s different because she’s dating someone new. But…she’s sort of…not.
That’s just a restart
If you don’t do some self-reflection, and perhaps spend time in therapy, after a relationship that goes terribly, turbulently wrong, then you aren’t really off to a fresh start when you start dating again. You’re just restarting the same cycle you just came out of.
Moving too quickly
I worked with one woman for a while who was often getting a “fresh start”—around every 12 to 18 months to be exact. That’s how long it would take her to meet a new man, decide he was the one, move in with him within just five months of meeting him, get engaged within ten months, and have it all go down in messy, financially complicated flames at roughly the 12 to 18-month mark.
Fresh starts can get expensive
This same woman who always moved too fast with men would be looking for a new place to live or trying to sell the house they had just bought together because, oh yeah, that was another big commitment they made too early. Her fresh starts involved breaking leases and mortgage terms.
She skipped the work phase
The woman I knew who would always make massive commitments (buy a house, get engaged) with men she’d only known for a short period was doing this in attempts to skip the whole getting-to-know-each-other work phase. She didn’t want to do the work of learning who somebody is and actually figuring out if compatibility was there. She wanted to skip to playing house.
Moving too fast=falling behind
By skipping ahead, this woman just kept falling behind in her relationship goals. And about every year or so, she said she was looking for a “fresh start.” She’d just repeat the pattern of rushing. Last I checked she was onto her third divorce and had broken off five engagements somewhere in between.
Getting a new job
My old roommate was seeking a new job every few months. Each job would end the same way: she would, honestly, make a mistake or not do what she said she’d do for a client. When they called her out on it, rather than just apologize and fix it, she’d lash out at them, and call them nasty names. She’d even threaten to sue them if they didn’t pay her (for work she didn’t complete, or did incorrectly). She’d lose the client. She’d be on the hunt again—looking for a “fresh start” as she’d often say.
Fresh starts are a religion for the proud
My old roommate was so resistant to ever just admitting she’d made a mistake, or even that she’d done poor quality work, that rather than do that, she’d turn the accusations around. She’d project out, because it’s less scary than taking the blame.
Fresh starts are bad for a resume
When we won’t admit fault and take responsibility for our actions, we’ll find ourselves seeking fresh starts a lot. And fresh jobs. It’s hard to build references that way, of course. My roommate could never have a new prospective client call a previous one as a reference because that would be a very bad phone call. Every professional relationship had ended with screaming matches and threatened lawsuits, all because she didn’t want to redo her work. She didn’t want to admit fault, and just fix her errors.
Entering a new industry
While my one roommate at least attempted to stay within the same industry—just looking for new jobs within it—I’ve had some friends who were constantly changing industries. I had one friend who, every six to 12 months, decided she was completely dedicated to enter new venture here.
Fresh starts don’t mean instant fame
My friend who was always switching industries would eventually claim it was a nasty and unfair business and nobody appreciated her talent or hard work. She’d claim the politics were ridiculous, or something like that. Really, she was just frustrated she couldn’t rise to the top in a mere year.
Fresh starts are a substitute for hard work
Starting from the bottom (Sorry to quote Drake, but it is a real term) is never fun. Nobody wants to be the newbie—the intern, assistant, or apprentice. Nobody wants to be the one everyone is teaching things to, rather than the one everybody looks up to. But nobody gets to the top without climbing the ranks. It’s nearly impossible to skip a wrung of the ladder, let alone most of them. But people who try to do so often find themselves seeking a fresh start in a whole new industry—one they think they can “Hack.”
I should have seen the red flag with that one roommate who was always losing clients: her roommate history, prior to me, had been spotty. When she moved into my place, that was her fourth place in less than three years. I had to take her in because she was a family friend, but I quickly learned whey she’d been house-hopping so frequently.
New roommate=no rules…yet
This family friend who I took in turned out to be a pretty bad roommate. She’d consistently run quite late on rent. She’d have guests over—quite a few—without asking the rest of the house if that was okay, and we’d find her strange guests sleeping on the couch the next morning. Her dog pooped everywhere and she didn’t pick it up. When we tried to broach these issues with her, she exploded, said this was the wrong living situation for her, broke her lease, and left. For a—you guessed it—“Fresh start.”