There’s a saying that has begun haunting me on a daily basis.
“Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”
I used to find truth in this saying. I admired it. But in all honesty? It’s pure bullshit.
There is no wrong doing in giving someone who has hurt you another chance. There is no error in learning to trust someone again. I find true strength in vulnerability, in stripping yourself of fear and opening up to someone. I have closed myself off time and time again because I’ve been scared to take a chance, scared of getting hurt and being manipulated, taken for granted, used. Having had my fair share of toxic relationships, friendships and romances, I’ve become a somewhat cautious person. I don’t trust easily or fully. I tip toe around people, censor what I say and how I say it. I don’t deal with fallout easily, so saving myself the pain is a defense mechanism. I’m protecting my emotions. As of recently though, I’ve been more open and emotionally available. I’m being more willing to take the risk of getting hurt if it means I’m experiencing things I wouldn’t otherwise get to experience.
Trusting someone after they’ve hurt you is downright scary. Speaking from experience, it takes weeks, if not months to truly have even an ounce of true trust for that person. I have recently caught myself fearing the worst, not just because it’s a part of my personality, but because I genuinely do not want to get hurt again. Forgiving is an act of my strength, but the memories of the past resurface every now and then and I catch myself second guessing my every move. They’ve really hurt me before, why am I letting them into my life? Why am I being open with them, what if they just go and screw me over again? Why am I playing with fire? I know though, that time can change people. I’ve seen myself change throughout the years. I know it happens to others also. So when it comes to giving people second chances, I have an open mind and heart because I believe people can mature and change for the better.
When it comes to fool me twice, shame on me, what I used to find most truthful is the idea that if a person hurts you twice it is your fault because you willingly let them back in. Now I’m on the opposite side of the spectrum. How is giving second chances and putting your trust in someone again, your fault? You’re growing. Learning that people make mistakes and that forgiveness exists. Giving someone a chance to redeem themselves is brave. And if they hurt you again? I see no reason to be shamed.
The thing is, even if I do get hurt I’m not going to blame myself. I’m taking a risk, a risk I have most definitely calculated when I let someone who has burned me back into my life. I know the complications and consequences that may accompany my newfound trust for them. If they go and hurt me again, I will be grateful I gave them the chance, but I know when to let go of toxic people in my life. I know when I deserve better and I’m not going to sit around and settle for less. They should’ve known better than to take what I gave them for granted. They should have known better. And now I will know better.
I deserve people in my life that don’t shit on the chances I give them. It is simple as that. If someone hurts you, you have to decide if keeping that person in your life is really going to benefit you. I have found it rather hard to let go of some people in my life and hang onto others, but only I know what is best for me.