Over the course of my life, I have always been one of those people who was very hesitant to give anyone a second chance. I always kept my guard up, and if someone broke my trust once then they broke it forever.

However, in the past couple months I've come to realize that the most important people in my life would give me grace without a second thought, and that I needed to do the same for them.

I was always very quick to forgive, but very slow to release grudges. I would be passive aggressive, petty, and never tell anyone what was wrong. I expected them to know on their own - but humans can't read minds.

In the past year, I have been given many second chances by people I deeply care about. I have come to realize that forgiveness isn't just a quick tactic to resolve conflict. It requires love, understanding, and patience.

I learned forgiveness from the people that love me best. From the people that want to see me succeed and want to see me happy. They don't hold grudges; they are compassionate and open-minded. They show me their hearts even when mine was so guarded.

I have learned that it's okay to be vulnerable. It's okay to make mistakes, as long as you fix them. It's okay to let your guard down, trust people, and allow them to get to know the real you. Sure, you might get hurt by a few people, and you might have to do some mental and emotional rebuilding - but everyone is different. Just because one person hurts you doesn't mean that everyone after them will.

People love differently, and they also forgive differently. If someone you love makes a mistake, it is okay to forgive them. It doesn't make you weak, or spineless, or afraid to be alone. It makes you strong, compassionate, and accepting.

If someone says they are going to try, they are going to change, they are going to be better - give them the benefit of the doubt. If they want you in their lives, they will do anything they can to make it up to you.

It's okay to trust, to fall, to forgive. It's okay to let people in, and it's okay to love. Do so strongly, passionately, and whole-heartedly. The right people won't hurt you. And if they do, try giving them a second chance. They may surprise you.