Clayton Echard is sharing what he learned from his journey on reality TV. The 28-year-old “Bachelor” alum took to Instagram on Tuesday to share an emotional reflection with his followers.
“Suse took this picture of me one day before ‘After the Final Rose,'” Echard began the lengthy post, referring to Susie Evans as the photographer. “In this moment, I was at rock bottom. I knew what was coming and realized my reality was much further from what I had ever expected. As I looked out the window, I questioned who I was? What had I become? Where did everything go wrong? Why me?”
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Echard, who came under fire during his season for falling for — and being intimate with — multiple women, went on to share that six months prior to this photo, he “was standing outside as the first limo pulled up and kept thinking to myself how I was so lucky to be in this position as The Bachelor.” However, six months later he “was staring out this window wondering how much worse things could get.”
“But as I’ve reflected back on it all now since being out of the spotlight, I’ve had the ability to see what I couldn’t see before. I was too busy trying to defend my actions and my character, instead of accepting full responsibility for not only what I had done, but for who all I hurt,” Echard continued. “Often, we are so concerned with explaining ourselves that we don’t realize the explanations sometimes hurt more than the actions. Because they appear as excuses and nothing more.”
Echard said that he feels as though he finally learned his lesson. “I hurt people,” he wrote. “Sure, I didn’t have any intention of doing so and ‘did what I thought was best by following my heart’, but I still hurt people. Perception is reality and regardless of intention, the results of our actions hold the most weight.”
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The former football player credited “therapy and other means of self-reflection” for finally being able to “see the reality of what all I had done.”
“I never forget to give myself grace, as we all should do for ourselves,” he explained. “But I am a work in progress and always will be. Because perfection is impossible to obtain, but we can all be better than we were the day before. So that’s what I’ll continue to strive to do.”
Echard concluded his emotional post with a thank you to the people who have been in his corner during the difficult time. “Without you all and your support and constructive criticism, I would still be focused on defending my character, instead of building upon it,” he wrote. “I would still be coming up with explanations that fit my narrative, instead of working to understand ‘the other side’. And I would still be looking out that window, wondering who I really am. But I now know…and for that, I am finally at peace.”
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“Bachelor” host Jesse Palmer shared a kind message in response to Echard’s post. “Humility is indeed one of your greatest strengths,” Palmer commented. “So well said, and a great reminder to all of us that we should constantly be striving to become better versions of ourselves. So proud of you.”
While Echard got a second shot at love with Evans following the show, she revealed during a March podcast interview on “The Viall Files” that she is not ready for a proposal just yet. The two, however, have taken the next step in their relationship — moving in together.
“I sold [my condo] before I went on the show. I wanted to… uproot myself and give whoever I end up with a chance for this to actually work,” Echard told ET last month. “I do believe it’s important to be living under the same roof if you really wanna give it the best chance of starting that forever with somebody. I’m moving in.”
For more on Echard and Evans’ chat with ET, watch the video below.
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