Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Does everyone deserve a second chance?

This is a topic I feel particularly insecure about.
I have always believed the answer should be yes.

I thought I wasn’t someone to be resentful or unforgiving. I thought I may not forget, but at least I can forgive. But now I am wondering if that is even possible.
Let me explain very briefly my personal relation to this topic before turning back to the question in general. A very important part of my life has been to become independent. This is what growing up means for me, amongst other things. Living my own life, making my own decisions. With regard to financial issues, I am not yet as autonomous as I wish to be, since this is not possible while going to university. But I do my best, constantly going to work during vacations and trying to earn a living.

Anyway, the reason why this is so important for me is that I was and am still having considerable problems with my family. I won’t go into further detail about that and I don’t want to complain, I just felt I should mention this, so that you might understand this particular issue here. In my opinion, family is one of the most important values in life and I am grateful for at least having one. But for some reason I never managed to get along with them, although fighting for their appreciation my entire childhood. But being totally honest, it is both their and my fault that it doesn’t get better today.

My whole life I regretted wholeheartedly not being able to change my familial relationship. But now that it might be my turn to do so, I don’t know how to.
This results in some questions.
How does one forgive?

After having experienced physical, sexual or mental violence, is it really possible to forgive the associated person? Should you even forgive?

On the one hand, I think there are cases where a second chance should not be given, even if only to protect yourself.
On the other hand, maybe past should be nothing more than it is, something that is gone. Maybe you should try to look forward to the future and try to forgive. Ultimately, this might serve your peace of mind.
A friend of mine once told me that for him it doesn’t matter what happened in the past and that he won’t judge others for what they did in former times. The only thing that matters is the present.

To err is human. Therefore, I believe that every one of us, including me, of course, has made some mistakes in his life. Don’t you think you deserved a second chance? After all, there must be an opportunity to learn from mistakes. There must be a chance to do it better in the future.
But is giving second chances without limitation possible and is it even desirable? A lot of people think that it depends on the gravity of a deed whether someone deserves a second chance or not. But doesn’t this somehow object to the concept of giving second chances?

Does everybody deserve a second chance, regardless of what he or she did? What about child abusers? I have heard of so many cases where such a person committed the same crime after getting out of prison. Couldn’t this have been prevented? Is the whole idea of giving second chances overrated? Is it even conformable to our society? But what would a society be without such concepts?
And what about third or fourth chances? In reality and for our everyday life, I think it isn’t really about chances, but about continuous opportunities we get and decisions we make.

Moreover, we often take it for granted to get second chances, we don’t even think about it until we are in the situation of having to give one. Isn’t this a bit selfish?

I would love to hear some opinions on this.


  1. Forgiveness is not easy at the best of times for me. I have learnt very slowly to forgive someone and then to move on. I am also very big on trust and honesty so once my trust towards someone has been severed, unfortunately I cannot get it back. I will continue to be polite to the person but the relationship whether with a family or friend is done.

    Saying that, there are times when you have to completely turn you back and look the other way, so to speak, otherwise you could put yourself in greater harm or danger ie: domestic violence, sexual / mental abuse etc....

    I have also learnt that when I have not forgiven someone, I am the one who ends up with all the resentment, hate, anger etc whilst the person who offended me walks the earth with a great smile on their face. Hard as it is, and it may take many years, you just have to take the necessary time to deal with your emotions and feelings and move on. The quicker the better.

    There is also the element of not forgetting, otherwise 'history will repeat itself'. For me, remembering is the key that keeps me from getting back into a vicious cycle of abuse and hate.

    I have also noted that dependent upon the type of relationship I had with the person ie: distant or close, family, friend or acquaintance, this determines how quickly I can forgive or not. The closer the relationship, the harder it is.

    We are all different and handle things in different ways. This is a hard topic.

    Great Post again.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experiences and opinions on this topic.

      That is what I have realized, too. I think it is hard or even impossible to forgive someone, once he has destroyed your trust, especially when it is a family member or a close friend. I stay polite too, but I can not trust these persons anymore, no matter how much I would like to.

      This is a good thought, I haven't considered this yet. It is true that not forgetting helps us to prevent from repeating some experiences. The only problem I have realised is that you live through the same feelings again while reminding it and this is quite hard.

      You are right, we are all different. I guess I haven't found the right way for me yet.

      Thanks a lot.

  2. Anonymous30/8/12 00:00

    Before start with all this rigmarole, I want you to know that if you've read Rumpunch comment, you a relieved of the need to read this one since she made a lot more sense.

    It is absolutely natural to feel insecure when we are dealing with emotions and try to take them into words.

    Generally we do not use the right words to express the idea in our mind and that adds to the confusion.

    There are many liaisons that modify the relationship between human beings, and those are a bit more complicated if we apply them to family.

    One point to bear in mind then is: not all the situations treated in this post are closely related.

    Financial independence has nothing to do with the way we relate to family. It may give the sense of freedom, in the sense one does not depend on family and can be, do and say anything, but it is not real, family is family, if one depends on them or not. In most developed countries the idea to send children to "earn their life" in their middle teens, and understand the difficulty to be on one's own, is one of the factors that those societies lose cohesion and the application of the rule: everyone for themselves, ends taking all citizenry into a carnage.

    I will use a hackneyed common knowledge, family is the cell of society, you disrupt cells and the system go under. So I agree that family is one of the greatest value in life, but that is a generalization, we need most of families to keep concentrated on their fulcrum to have a healthy society, but modern times is showing that in highly developed societies that is not the trend, which do not necessarily takes us to accept that we are doomed since most of societies in less well to do environments, most of the world indeed, still keep the sense of belonging as the axis of existence.

    Now, about forgiveness, it is a wonderful virtue not related to give people second, third, or more chances, but it has more to do with our internal reactions to those things we call insult, disrespect, aggression, and all those things that assault our body or our physique.

    Moreover, we tend to think that to forgive is just wash everything out of reality and start with a clean slate, this is a mistake. To forgive is not automatically to condone the fault. There are situations that can be forgiven and forgotten, and there are others that can be forgiving, for our own good, but never forgotten, for the same reason. Never forgotten does not mean to let hate or rancour foster in our soul or the remedy is worse than the ailing. Of course, one can never forgive and never forgot, but as our mutual friend Rumpunch marked, it is a way to act against oneself more that against our foe.

    To err is human, but there are errors, and there are horrors. Normally one can easily discover when a mistake got an undesired disastrous end, and when that was made with the whole intention to hurt somebody, or when one is sick enough as not to belong in society.

    This last sentence relates itself to second, or more, chances. It is the privilege of each one of us to decide when, those "other" chances are deserved and when they are not... with the proviso that we can err since we are human.

    1. As you said I do relate a lot of emotions to this topic and I tried to write the thoughts just as they came into my mind (well, not all of them, I didn't want to tell too much about my family), so it is true that there might be situations treated in this post that do not closely relate to the topic. I'm sorry if it is confusing or illogical.
      My desire for financial independence resulted srongly from my familial relationship, therefore I mentioned it. But you are right that it has nothing to do with the way we relate to family.

      I agree with what you write.
      Of course, never forgetting doesn't need to result in remedy or hatred. I don't feel any of this, but I have realised that in spite of this I am not able to trust these persons anymore, so I think I haven't forgiven them completely.

      I always considered certain things as an error, but you are right that one has to distinguish between errors and the intention of hurting somebody.

      Sorry again for any confusing thoughts! But this what I feel when it comes to this topic and at least everything that I write is very honest.

      Thank you for your comment!

  3. I like the comments from our friends Rumpunch and Od and I like your replies to both of them. I understand how you feel. I think we can let out such feeling through our writings.

    To forgive and forget are two different things which might not be easy to do. Personally, I'd admit that sometimes I can forget but find it so difficult to forgive totally! I am not a mean person but at one stage of my life, I was hurt so badly. I keep telling myself to forgive, which I did and to forget, which I did too but sadly, the deep wound is hurting me again from time to time. It's like a nightmare, you know!

    You might come across on a post I have on forgetting and forgiving. I feel it's more like comforting myself or inspiring myself to forget what had happened and not to keep grudges. But as an ordinary human being, I have my weaknesses. I'm still in the process of forgiving that person.

    Thank you for sharing this post. It's thought provoking.

    1. Thank you, it's true that writing helps to let out some of the feelings and it helps a lot to get some opinions on this topic, it lets me see it in a more objective way.

      I'm really sorry that you have been hurt so badly and I know what you are talking about when saying that the wound is hurting you again from time to time.

      I have been looking for your post but I couldn't find it. Could you maybe give me the link or the year and month you wrote it, if you remind it?

      Thank you for your comment, I appreciate it very much.

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