Blog post

We all have the right to a second chance

By Joanna IK

It is election time in Greece (local government and European Parliament). Certain discussions on social media have triggered a certain discussion I had with two young scientists a long time ago. Towards the end of that meeting I would be wondering how a human soul could possibly be a lost cause. And how to move past the pain behind hurtful words.

When ‘being different’ isn’t understood

Somewhere in Greece, far back in time, I attended a meeting. During the coffee break, there I am, having a chat with two young men – two young scientists. While chitchatting, I see them turn round and hear them say: “Oh, look who’s here!” Without realising it, I look towards the entrance, to see who has just walked inside. And who the two young men have turned their back on.

I would see a young woman walk by as if in a hurry. Right now, I can’t remember if she came in with her head low. Intense moments elicit intense emotions and influence what we see. At some point, the two young men start commenting on her behaviour. What they are portraying as annoying, to me it sounds like a desperate attempt to communicate with others. Possibly the desperate attempt of a young person to find their place in society; to feel heard by others; to feel accepted for who they are.

The need to defend a human soul

I feel the need to defend the young woman. Well, to defend all of us who have heard the phrase: “Oh, look who’s here!” I have been in a similar situation, so I know how it feels. And I know I’m not the only one. Interestingly, the younger we are, the harder it is to remain unaffected – by negativity. And to explain to ourselves that this is simply the opinion of someone who doesn’t know us and for their own reasons, doesn’t wish to get to know us better. Wondering how it feels to hear that phrase when you are about to enter the world of adults? As if you have no right to share the same space with others. As if your dreams and wishes aren’t worthy.

My attempt to defend a young person doesn’t have the desired effect. I feel uncomfortable when I hear them say: “Lost cause” .. I would repeat that phrase many times, within me. Oh, what if she has heard the phrase, I wonder. Does she feel uncomfortable; Most probably .. I now wonder how many times those young men may have heard the same phrase, addressed to them. It turns out that we tend to use hurtful words we have already heard them being addressed to us or our beloved ones.

Difficult words, difficult thoughts

Even when in an utter whisper, words hurt more than actions. Yes, they may hurt more. Think of words which denote rejection or lack of acceptance by our beloved ones or even acquaintances. They may leave an indelible mark on the human soul, difficult to discern yet one making its presence felt.

I have tried to understand how a human soul could possibly be a lost cause, without any prospects. I can understand the figurative use of “lost” to refer to an individual who feels that they have lost their destination or direction in life. Or to someone who walks through life without any guidance or support. That someone could work on finding a new destination or the support they need. But a lost cause?

The importance of being at a transitional phase

Coming back to today, to the fiscal crisis we are still experiencing, and the realisation that any crisis is part of community life.

I am having a nice coffee chat with new friends, some peers. I hear them say that they are going through a transition in their life. That they are at a transitional phase:

And so it is. Life isn’t the way it was supposed to be. Our needs have changed. We have changed as well.

That is the fact. Interestingly, now we have the chance to work towards finding a place in society to suit us more. And to be better prepared for the next crisis. Now, we are competing against crisis to move to the next stage.

Even if we have lost the first round (if we feel so), we haven’t lost the game of life. There is “the interval” to take time to consider the next step. To claim our right to a second chance.

Football-wise, when would we say that a match was great to watch? When the result is overturned in the last couple of minutes in the game, or when the less likely team to win actually wins the game. I like football; this is gender equality in practice!

The game of life continues and invites us to use words which enhance the belief in ourselves. Now is the time to clarify; hope; trust; persist. What would you add to the list?

No, I can’t accept that a human soul could be a lost cause. No matter where we are in life, or what difficulties we are facing, “our case” hasn’t been tried. There is always hope. There is a second chance waiting for us to claim it.

Message of optimism

How would I like to end the story? I would like to say, again, that the game of life continues. Let me put it this way: the story continues. Through the second half, the game will be more interesting, with pleasant turns and a happy ending. Are we ready?

Have a creative week!

A blogger friend, Joanna


Lately, I have been following on social media the work of Ulrich Janse van Vuuren, a human rights activist based in Johannesburg. Ulrich has been cruising South Africa to discover and showcase people and places in his home country. When he visited Sandton, in Johannesburg, he discovered and took a photo of the sign attached to this story: Be Kind. For me, this sign reminds us that it is important to be kind to others and to ourselves; to talk to us in a respectful way and to encourage us to enjoy the interval before the next step.

Comments (10)

  • Debra Roberts

    4 June 2019 at 15:16

    Everyone should be given a second chance…maybe even a third, but then 3 strikes, you’re out is my motto. People learn at grow at different stages and some take longer than others and need guidance and stronger people around them, not outcasting. I’ve lost many friends and family members the last decade especially, and it feels so commonplace now to walk away from those who continually bring you down. I’ll forgive and give those 2-3 extra chances, but after that, done!

  • Thuy

    4 June 2019 at 07:08

    I don’t believe in giving second chances unless people actually change or take action. If people apologize and don’t change they are manipulative. I’m kind and respectful to everyone unless they give me a reason.

  • Tracy C

    3 June 2019 at 00:01

    I believe in second chances because people can change. People come and go in our lives, but it’s always best to be kind if you can. Kindness doesn’t cost anything and can mean everything to the recipient.

  • Snehal

    2 June 2019 at 17:19

    What I now believe about people in life is that they are not permanent. So I try not to be dependent on them. I am still in my 20s so… I guess I am yet to see many phases of life 😀

  • Live Learn Better

    2 June 2019 at 04:54

    This is a great insight. I’m not for 2nd chances as people have proven over and over that they can’t change and nothing would change irrespective of the circumstances.
    Thank you for the message.

  • Trish Veltman

    2 June 2019 at 04:21

    Lost cause is such a desolate phrase and I suspect it says a lot more negative things about a person who would use it to describe someone than it does the person being described. From what I’ve seen, people who say unkind things have rarely experienced kindness from others.

  • Scott J DeNicola

    2 June 2019 at 03:19

    It takes much more effort to be angry at someone that does to be happy. I’ve gotten to a point in life that most times I just don’t care what people think. I am who I am. Take me or leave me. Just be nice to people and the world would be a better place.

  • Rachele Hollingsworth

    2 June 2019 at 00:09

    I definitely believe everyone deserves a second chance. I’ve been through some difficult times, and I would be devastated to learn that people wrote me off because of the way I may have behaved when I was just trying to survive. I also find that the “easier” your life has been and the more sheltered you are, the easier it is for you to judge others.

  • Erica (The Prepping Wife)

    1 June 2019 at 12:26

    I’ve reached a point in my life where I’ve walked through hell and lost everything and still came out standing strong, so nothing anyone says bothers me anymore. I honestly don’t care who likes me or hates me. Losing people is nothing anymore. I remember being much younger and words like “look who’s here” would be devastating though because people were not kind. Being kind seems like one of the most basic life lessons, yet it is so easy to do the absolute opposite, especially with the addition of social media and people arguing opinions all the time. I really wish more people took the time to just be kind to each other.

  • Lyosha

    1 June 2019 at 11:35

    I believe in second chances. Most of the time it proves me right. Second chance is a thing to earn for sure but it something might actually work. Also it embraces kindness which is a huge pro for me.
    P.S. have a great weekend!

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