People who know me personally know I am probably the biggest sceptic when it comes to second chances.
From the very early stages of any relationship / friendship, I make it pretty clear that it’s not something I dish out on a whim, and in the rare cases that I do, it’s a well thought out decision. But even then I’m still quite sceptical.
The thing about second chances for me is that it is a risk. It is a risk of allowing someone to hurt me again, it is a risk of letting someone who once didn’t appreciate me or value me, back into my life. It is a risk, that I have to decide whether I’m willing to take. For me, majority of the time, I just don’t have the heart to take that risk.
I’m not saying some second chances don’t pay off. I’m sure there are lots of relationships and friendships that are stronger and better after giving it a second chance. What I do fear if I’m being honest is, it going the other way. What if it doesn’t work? What if I get hurt again? What if they think they can do it again? What if the second time round the emotional pain is even worse? What if a second chance opens up the door to a third, fourth, fifth chance? What if it becomes a toxic, unbreakable cycle? Taking that risk to satisfy my curiosity of the unknown and exploring the world of ‘what if‘ isn’t one I’ve had the courage to take.
My question is, why does it take a second chance for someone to show they care or appreciate me? Why wasn’t I loved, treated well, respected and appreciated the first time? Why does it take a bad situation or someone to ‘mess up‘ to make someone ‘realise‘ what they’ve lost or how much they appreciate someone. I know this is a so called ‘fairy tale‘ mentality, things in life are not always smooth sailing, people ‘make mistakes‘ and learn from them, but I just truly believe in being treated right the first time.
It shouldn’t take my absence and life ‘without’ me to show someone or prove to someone how much I am worth.
I’m not saying people can’t make mistakes and don’t deserve an opportunity to make up for them but, I personally just can’t fathom the thought of giving someone the power to hurt me again. I honestly believe that if someone truly cared for me or valued me they would not risk losing me in the first place.
This mentality I have is why I’m so tolerable in a lot of situations. Even when things go wrong, I try and I try to make things work because the moment I shut off from someone or ‘get over‘ someone, the thought of a second chance doesn’t even cross my mind. Even if someone promised me the world and they will ‘never hurt me again‘, that’s just not enough for me. A second chance is opening a dangerous door. A door to repeated cycles and repeated behaviour. The way I see it, a second chance is handing someone back the weapon they hurt you with, with the hope they won’t do it again. Can I stomach that thought? I don’t think I can.
Forgiveness is something I struggle with. To me a second chance means you’ve truly forgiven someone and are willing to try again with the hope that you never have to ‘forgive’ again. A second chance means you’ve accepted the past, you’re over it, you won’t bring it up anymore, you move forward and don’t look back. A second chance is not about fixing the past, it’s about having a better future. For that very reason, is why I think I am not an advocate for second chances. I often try and tell myself that I’ve forgiven someone and I may have reached a stage with someone where I can be cool with them, converse with them but in the back of my head, feelings of resentment still linger. My mind is cast back to the bad situations and I’m immediately back in it.
So can I say I’ve ever practised true and genuine forgiveness? I don’t think I have. I know forgiveness is something you practice for your own benefit and not the other person. But for me, if I forgive someone does that mean I accept the way they treated me? Does it mean they’ve ‘gotten away with it’? Even when I tell myself ‘yeah I’ve forgiven them‘, I still feel the resentment, and that’s not forgiveness is it?
For me, it’s not about learning to give second chances, it’s about learning to forgive. You can forgive someone but choose to not to let them back into your life. Forgiveness isn’t easy, it is a long stretched journey. Maybe I just hear or have seen too many ‘second chances‘ go wrong. Even in the rare cases I’ve tried to give a ‘second chance‘ it’s never worked.