The theory of evolution is based around the idea that only the strongest survive. Those creatures with the strongest attributes will outlive the weak and pass on their genes. Much of this survival is based on instinct. If a lion sees a river and the water isn’t flowing, they won’t drink from it. Still water means bacteria, which means disease and possible death. If there are poachers near their home killing them, rhinos won’t continue to frequent the same places; they’ll move onto where it is safe. If animals are capable of understanding repeat actions of pain, why does it seem that humans constantly go back to what hurts them?

Maybe it’s because as humans, all of our decisions come down to emotions. We want to spend our time doing what gives us happiness with people who do the same. So, in the same thought, wouldn’t we stay away from things and people that cause us pain and heartache? The obvious answer would be yes, but we don’t work that way.

It’s the reason that we go to the same job every day and work for people that show no respect. The same reason you take back the lover who lied. Why you forgive the brother who stole from you. At the end of the day, we all want to believe that people are inherently good. Someone you respect or care or even love causes you pain and while you may feel angry and hurt, it’s always a betrayal. Because we all hope that the people we let into our lives are truly good and perhaps just made a mistake, not that they are, fundamentally, selfish and bad.

Not only do we want to hope for the good in people because we don’t want to get hurt, but because it hurts our egos. Why would this person hurt me? Thoughts of self-doubt and questions of inner acceptance begin floating in your brain. Maybe this person is good and it’s me who made them act badly. It’s not.

Whether you are 18, 38, or 88, you are responsible for the choices you make. At the end of the day, you cannot blame anyone else. And in turn, you shouldn’t blame yourself for the selfish and cruel choices of another. As college students, this is the time in our life where we make decisions about our careers, where we want to live, and the kind of people we want to be. It should also be the time to choose who we let into our worlds. Sometimes, it can be scary to cut out those people who hurt you because being alone is seen as a bad thing. But isn’t it worse to be surrounded by those who cause you pain and to question who you are?

They saying goes “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” It really applies to the people in our lives. We want to hope that people are good, but sometimes they just aren’t. Kevin Federline is all the evidence I need of that. As much as we want those to hurt us to change and realize their mistakes, it just doesn’t always work like that. Eventually, we have to decide if the life we want to lead will include those hurtful people. If you continue to go to the same Taco Bell every night and they’re always out of Cinnamon Twists, you’d stop going there, right? The same works for relationships. Although Cinnamon Twists might actually be less messy.