This is difficult. No, not opening up to you all about my past struggles, but figuring out what I want to share with you this time around. In my first article, I put myself out there through my retirement letter and wow, what a response I got! I then shared with you my 10-year battle with anxiety and again, I received an unbelievable response. I figured this would be easy to build on. However, I simply cannot just write about something because there is mass interest. I need to write what’s on my mind in the moment.
Let me set the scene for you: I’m not much of a coffee drinker, but on the days I write, I get a huge cup of black coffee, put my headphones on and turn on my go-to song. Yup, you guessed it; ‘This I Promise You’ by the Backstreet Boys. Since we’re being honest, it’s actually a cover of that song done by Anthemn Lights. Regardless, I’m now in the zone.
My original plan was to share another story with you about an awful experience that I had with a panic attack. Then, I received an extremely random message from someone I haven’t talked to in over 10 years. This was an individual to whom I was once extremely close, and who not only hurt me personally, but also hurt my family and close friends. I immediately began thinking to myself, “What the F does this person want?” My very first reaction was a negative one — an extremely negative one. I didn’t respond right away; instead, I kind of had a moment. You know, one of those moments when you kind of daze off into space and get lost in your own little world. That moment led me to reminiscing about all of the good times that I actually did have with this person prior to our major fallout. Naturally after that moment, I did what any normal person would do — I dug deep into this individual’s Facebook to see what had been going on for the last 10 years.
I quickly saw a person who had gone through many of the same struggles that I had experienced over the years. But I also saw a person who had prevailed from these hard times and had been able to turn their life around. To be completely honest, it made me a bit emotional. I then came to a realization: Who am I to hold a grudge against someone who has learned from their mistakes? Why do I expect more than a second chance, but I can’t give this person a third or fourth chance? Be honest with yourself; how many times have you failed the second time around? How much time actually passes between your first chance and your second chance? How much do we actually grow and learn from our first mistake to ace things the second time around? There’s such a huge gap when comparing what we give to what we expect.
There have been times when I have not been given additional chances to right my wrongs. To this day, I believe if I was given another chance, so much would be different. But, I can’t dwell on it because I have to be present with myself. I’ve been given second chances and have failed. Many of you have seen that on national television. But I think back and realize how much I’ve changed over the last 10 years and how if I was given another chance — in a similar situation — I’d be better.
Here’s what I’m really trying to say: Don’t be so quick to give up on people. I understand there are circumstances when another chance isn’t an option. But, as I get older, I now understand that in many cases we need to give people the opportunity to show they’ve changed for the better. I can’t be one to judge. I believe that everyone wants to be “accepted.” Hell, I want to be accepted by everyone. We all know that could never be the case. Maybe everyone deserves a second chance, but I believe we need to find it within ourselves to give some people third and fourth chances. I strive to be a person who is strong enough to provide forgiveness rather than someone who avoids it. Life is too short.
As I shuffle through all of the questions and comments you’ve sent, I came across a question from Katina, simply asking, “Why do you think people are so unforgiving?” I believe it’s challenging to forgive, so instead, people choose to forget. And in the process of forgetting, we often lose people who simply needed another chance.
Here’s to being able to forgive. I’ll start right now by responding to that Facebook message.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask me by filling out the form below.
Be sure to check back next week for more of Chris’ answers right here on RantNOW.