“But remember, this is the last time”: 4 reasons to give a second chance
Man among people
Even though we are taught to forgive and to make it possible to correct the mistakes of the past, not everyone is capable of this. University of Bremen psychologist Katie Hanke and University of Lisbon psychologist Christine-Melanie Waukler conducted a study in which nearly 42,000 people from 30 countries took part and concluded that people are more likely to forgive if forgiveness is presented as the main value in the culture of the country.
Hanke and Waukler found that the ability to give a second chance helps not only in personal relationships, but also on a global level: forgiveness is a decisive factor that can cope with violence nationwide. In other words, the ability to forget, let go, forgive can unite not only individuals, but entire nations.
Here are four reasons why, by forgiving, you only win:
1. When you forgive someone, you yourself feel happier. Studies confirm that forgiveness first and foremost gives a sense of calm and joy to one who forgives.
2. People can change. They learn from their mistakes, and by giving them such an opportunity, you allow you to grow not only them, but also yourself.
3. Forgiveness saves energy. Imagine that your car broke down. It is being repaired, but after repair it breaks down again. If you give it to another service, you will have to re-run the diagnosis, because the new mechanics do not know anything about the breakdown. That is, you have to start all over again.
So it is in a relationship. Your partner made a mistake, you abandoned him, met another, but this other one has not yet made mistakes in relations with you and does not know what cannot be done. Thus, if you give a second chance to the first partner, he will not repeat the mistake and you will not have to relive the old pain again.
4. One day they will do the same to you. Look at the situation from a different angle and imagine that you need a second chance. Would you feel better if you were given the opportunity to improve? Whether it’s the machine you need to repair, or the relationship in which you made a mistake, it’s nice to know that someone will let you fix it and do it right.
Sometimes we make mistakes. Which is quite natural, because a person is imperfect: we are able to lie, change, manipulate, steal. It’s normal to be jealous, feel pain, rejection and loneliness. And sometimes we sympathize with the offender, forgive him, forget the bad and continue to love, no matter what.
We give a person a second chance, and some are so overwhelmed with love and compassion that they give both a third and a fourth. But sometimes it happens and vice versa, and our offender has to stay with what he deserves.
In personal life, we often make decisions based on strong emotions: love, desire, fear. In addition, we provide an opportunity to atone for the friends, colleagues, strangers we face every day. You may be the boss whose subordinate deceived your hopes. Or you were poorly served in a store. You knowingly or unconsciously whether the offender is worthy of a second chance.
Psychologists who work in prisons or in court are considered second-chance experts. Relying on the experience of working with the accused and prisoners, they believe that it is necessary to objectively approach the issue of a second chance, which is usually closely related to the emotional attitude to the subject and subject of the proceedings. Sometimes even representatives of the legal system become emotionally involved in the matter, cannot impartially evaluate the personality of the convicted person and turn to a psychologist for advice.
Does the accused have the right to change the term for corrective labor? Should I restrict it in parental rights? Such cases are always connected with the attitude to the personality of the defendant – he may be too young, too old, sick, he may have a difficult social history. Of course, the convict begs to believe him, swears never to break the law again. So forensic psychologists always have to approach issues of the second chance objectively, based on a specific assessment system.
Invite the offender to mentally return to the past and ask what he would do otherwise
To decide whether an offense is worth forgiveness, a number of points should be considered.
- Always remember that the best indicator of future behavior is past behavior. Ask yourself: the action you are going to forgive is an isolated case or pattern that has already been repeated many times and, therefore, is expected to happen again in the future?
- Make sure that the offender is actually sincerely repenting. This is difficult, because manipulators can confuse with false remorse and tears, put pressure on sore spots and make them feel sorry for them. Take a closer look – is he really ashamed of what he has done, or is he just feeling sorry for himself and does not want to lose what you give him?
- Understand if a person understands what he has done and why it is bad. Try it, explain why what he did has offended you. Will the offender accept your accusations or begin to justify and argue?
- Examine his attitude to the problem or misconduct that he committed. Suggest mentally returning to the past and ask what he would do differently. Then find out why. Does he accept blame or blame everyone around him?
After that, study all four factors and try to evaluate them as objectively as possible. Remember that emotions always interfere with a sober look at things. Decide what is best for you, for the offender, and for your relationship.
When we have the opportunity to forgive someone, it is definitely worth using it. Forgiveness makes better not only ourselves, but the world around us.