What computers can teach us about relationships

Posted by Karen Degen on 15th December 2014

Tags: arguments, browsing history, relationship history, relationships

Today I read an article about how airlines now have the ability to show you different (higher) prices, depending on your purchase history.  If in the past you purchased higher priced flights they know you will pay more, so they only show you the more expensive flights when you search.  The software can now affect even the ‘compare’ websites.   Apparently it is not just the airlines that are doing this either.  I had an emergency flight I had to buy at the last minute a few months ago and paid top dollar for it.  I don’t want that to mean that I never see the cheaper flights when I search online because they think I will/can pay more.  The article suggested that one way around this not logging in to websites, but searching anonymously.  The problem is though that your computer has a browsing history which is stored on the computer and can be accessed by ‘cookies’.  So even if you think you are anonymous you are not.  The suggested way around that was to delete your browsing history and cookies from the computer.  This is actually quite a big deal because you are deleting everything the computer remembers about you and it’s like starting again.  It doesn’t remember your preferences, doesn’t come up with your password already there, doesn’t fill in boxes with your details in etc.  It’s kind of scary, but good too, to start with a clear slate knowing that your past can’t be used against you.

That got me to thinking, wouldn’t it be great if we could do that in relationships. If we could clear our past.  If we could delete our history of wrongs done, arguments, hurts, words said etc.  That it could be so easy!  I had a couple that came to see me recently who were having relationship issues.  There were some current problems of course, but one of them continually bought up issues from the past, which wasn’t helping the situation.  I asked them to imagine that they could simply delete their ‘relationship hurt’ history.  No bringing it up any more, it’s gone, just like deleting your browsing history on the computer.  They loved that idea and agreed to it, but they both knew their arguments were not yet over.  I said “If you want to argue, argue about what’s happened today”.  That might seem like strange advice as the objective obviously is a permanently peaceful relationship, but arguing only about current issues is a great first step.  If we delete the past history we can start seeing with new eyes and that new perspective could make all the difference.

That made me think of when there are changes in a workplace.  The staff that were there before the changes struggle to accept them and are often very unhappy.  Any new staff coming in completely accept them because they have no history.  They don’t know what it was like there before.  The only reason the existing staff can’t accept the changes is they are focusing on the past.  They are not looking with new eyes and seeing ‘what is’, they are seeing what used to be.

Would you benefit from pushing the delete button on your history?  Are you brave enough to wipe the slate clean and start again?  Seeing only through eyes that see the ‘now’ and not what came before.  If you need help to let go, contact me and I’ll help.