Even as I sit here, I can think of about a hundred things I would like to do-over, make better, or even make worse; whether it is simply a comment I made to a friend, not studying for a test, or lying to someone close to me. Everything you do has a risk, there is always the question; will I regret this later? Now, after countless mistakes and screw-ups, missed opportunities and broken relationships, I’ve come to realize that although I may have messed up, and will continue to mess up, I have to learn to forgive myself.
I believe in second chances. I believe that everyone deserves a chance to be forgiven and forgotten. No matter what it is that they’ve done, nobody’s perfect, and everyone is going to screw up one time or another, in one way or another. Everyone deserves the chance to make up for their mistakes, to learn from them. Without forgiveness, what DO we have? Nothing. Each and every one of us can learn from our mistakes, but only with the simple gift of forgiveness.
With forgiveness, we learn important lessons about ourselves and others. It could be the unexpected phone call from a friend, concerned after you had a bad night, or you could be the one calling. Even after explosive fights, it’s the true friends that stay to talk, and most importantly, to listen. I know I have definitely been surprised by friendship before. A compulsive liar at times, I sometimes told “little white lies” until they got the best of me. It was my friends, and the forgiveness they brought, that helped me try to become the more honest and true person I am today. When I first moved to Princeton from Washington, DC, I felt I had something to prove, and that everything I did would mold me, change the way people saw me as “the new girl.” Sure, I messed up, but got used to lying about it as a cover so I didn’t have to deal with ugly truths. I didn’t talk to my friends about my problems because I didn’t want them to think of me in a certain way. However, because of this, most people assumed I was lying about everything, and I didn’t get a chance to let anyone in. Eventually, however, my true friends learned to forgive and forget, a pleasant surprise to me.
Through all my mistakes, I’ve learned important things about myself as well. Now, I have begun to think before I act, and how every action I make, every step I take, affects others around me. It’s the letting go, the self-forgiveness that allows those also affected to forgive me as well.
It’s the stepping back, the reviewing of your life, and how your actions and words form who you are, to yourself and others, that help you learn, what I believe is, in it’s purest form, forgiveness.
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