CoSozo Living

Second Chances
  • Koaki Beyersdorf is a professional mental health counselor, who provides psychotherapy, life coa...

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Sun, September 1, 2013
How About the Second Chance?
What does the term second chance mean to you? Is it about redoing your mistake? Wiping the slate clean? Does it mean that you promise that you won’t make a mistake again? False. We can’t wipe out our past or reverse our mistakes. We also can’t make promises about the future. As they say, “what’s done is done”. We can’t go back in time and fix things. However, we also can’t forget about personal growth.
There are many reasons that we wish to have a second chance. Perhaps, you want to mend something or a relationship with someone. It may be because you made some sort of misstep on your career path. Or you have made mistakes in a past relationship and want to rekindle that relationship. Whatever it is, you want another opportunity, and you want to make some changes in yourself. In essence, the second chance is about just that: an opportunity.
How about when someone else asks you for a second chance? True. Some people may not deserve the second chance. You may be right. However, giving someone a second chance doesn’t mean that it eliminates their wrongdoing, whatever it was. It doesn’t mean you forget what happened. And it doesn’t mean that you give the person who has wronged you free reign to do it all over again. Part of second chances often involves learning how to set appropriate boundaries, refine relationship or communication skills, and heightening your trust in yourself. Of course, all circumstances are different, and sometimes, it is not possible to give or receive a second chance. It depends on what transpired, but after time and introspection, you'll determine whether it's okay to give someone that second chance.
Growing up, many of us are told to kiss and make up and give someone a second chance. Since then, we have experienced real pain, therefore, it may be hard to give someone that opportunity. As a little girl, I used to wonder why I, as the one who was hurt, should be giving out anything. I contested that the offender should be the one to make an effort and apologize to me. It was easy to be stubborn and not let things go since my heart was still aching.  However, I notice, as even a little girl, that if I stubbornly don’t give out a second chance, I continue to feel sad and upset, and I feel stuck somewhat. I realize that by offering someone a second chance, I feel more free and happier. 
It reminds me of one of the most famous second chance stories of all – Jesus and Peter. Despite Peter’s denial of him, Jesus gave him a second chance. Why did Jesus give Peter that opportunity? Peter didn’t apologize for his action nor did he ask for another chance as far as we know. Jesus hadn’t forgotten about what happened. He could have left Peter to wallow in guilt. However, he reached out to Peter, and he hadn’t lost strength to trust and love even toward Peter. Jesus approached Peter with love.
It may seem counterintuitive, but apparently, the second chance is about ourselves. It is an opportunity for self-growth. The second chance opens us up by creating chances in ourselves and our lives. The second chance is just a doorway to a new beginning. The second chance starts with your realization about past doings. You own the responsibility of your past actions.  And, now you desire to make some changes.  You acquire a lot of insights about your past events, and you are ready to let go of various emotions that you have around the experience. Instead of being stuck, we are free to move on developmentally and interpersonally.
Forgiveness must be a part of the process of giving someone or ourselves a second chance. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you give the person a get out of jail free card. Or, that you give up or give in. It is an opportunity to forgive ourselves and others. It is an opportunity to love and trust again in ourselves and others. We let ourselves or others go and become free from fears of pain. Find peace and love through letting go. Remember, life isn’t about finding what is right or wrong. We all make mistakes and experience setbacks. Our life gets richer and fuller with the variety of our life’s events. Life doesn’t progress in a straight line. Much like sailing where you tack into the wind, our route isn’t always direct. With the second chance, we bring ourselves back to being compassionate, benevolent, and having love toward ourselves and others.
No one owes us a second chance. Only we ourselves can make a decision to take or to create a second chance. Giving someone a second chance doesn’t mean that you “lost” as if life were a game where we keep score. We are just reaching out to others. The second chance is a process of self-healing. It is an opportunity for self-growth. The second chance must come from inside of ourselves, and must be intentional. The second chance is your new beginning to make a difference in yourself and your life.
Once, a spiritual leader, Pir Vilayat, said, “Every moment is the chance of a lifetime.” In other words, every moment is a new beginning. As long as we have life, we are generously given the second chance in each moment. Life provides us with an abundance of second chances. It is up to us to take a moment as the second chance, to make changes in ourselves. We have every given moment to have hope again, be true to ourselves, and to share our love to others. We may want to give a second chance because we humans can’t survive without it. The second chance is how we move forward and sustain our lives. A moment goes by in a blink of an eye. How we make use of each moment as another life opportunity is up to us. The second chance provides us an opportunity to re-focus and redirect ourselves. Our opportunity to change is now at this moment.

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