"Just when you think you found your way, life throws you onto a new path. It's unpredictable, unexplainable, and things might not go the way you hoped for," Rachael wrote in the caption to a slideshow of photos featuring Matt and many of the bachelorettes from Season 25.
"While I certainly wish things turned out differently, I also believe there is a reason for everything. We may not be able to control situations thrown our way, but we can control how we deal with it, and I believe good can come out every circumstance."
Rachael was accused of bullying a girl in high school for dating a Black man and recently liking offensive photos on Instagram, such as two friends posing in front of a Confederate flag.
In addition to an image of Rachael dressed in Native-American costume that has circulated online, photos also resurfaced of Rachael attending an antebellum-plantation themed "Old South" fraternity party at Georgia College & State University in 2018.
Rachael admitted on After the Final Rose she had been "living in ignorance" at the time and never stopped to think about what her actions represented, the people she might be hurting, or the trauma her behavior could cause.
"This was supposed to be a monumental season, and one of the biggest disappointments has been the overshadowing of these beautiful women and their stories," Rachael continued in her Monday evening Instagram post.
"They are some of the strongest, most brilliant, most extraordinary women, and I was lucky enough to have met them. You all deserve more, but I promise to always stand by and support each of you in any way I can."
Rachael then directed her focus on Matt and explained how their connection had been sincere and genuine on the show.
"I knew from the first night I met Matt that he was something special, and I was praying to share something exceptional between the two of us if that's what was meant to be," Rachael wrote.
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But Matt claimed Rachael initially didn't understand why her antebellum-party photos were "problematic" for him and their relationship, which led him to the conclusion Rachael simply didn't understand his life or perspective as Black man in America.
Matt also said Rachael must do the work to educate herself on her own and it's not his weight to bear or responsibility to help her.
"While I never expected this outcome, I respect his decision completely," Rachael acknowledged.
"Of course I wish circumstances were different, but I still feel blessed for the time we did have together and the memories we made. I got to fall in love, and I truly believe he was the love of my life. He will always hold a piece of my heart."
Matt confessed on After the Final Rose his feelings for Rachael won't go away overnight, but he hasn't confirmed or denied whether the door is open for reconciliation down the road.
"I'll always be hopeful and believe what's meant to be will be," Rachael added in her post.
"At the least, I hope tonight sparks conversations and a level of understanding. I hope it opens your mind to unlearning bias, to educating yourself, and gives you the push to initiate change."
Rachael pointed out "there are so many actions" a person can take to grow and become better.
"But I believe it starts within the small corners of your life, and having these conversations with those around you," Rachael wrote.
"It can't happen overnight and will be a never-ending ride, but I encourage you to take the leap and make a difference. We can change the world, together. I love you all and here's to new beginnings."
On After the Final Rose, sports analyst and former NFL player Emmanuel Acho, who hosted the special after Chris Harrison"stepped aside" for previously defending Rachael, made a point to say he doesn't believe in cancel culture and Rachael's mistakes were racially-insensitive and racially-ignorant -- but not necessarily "racist."
"It plays itself out as racism, but that doesn't necessarily classify someone as a racist," Emmaneul noted. "You have to pull back the curtain and look at their intention. Was their intention malicious?"
Prior to her appearance on After the Final Rose, Rachael released an apology February 11 on Instagram in which she also expressed remorse and regret over the scandal.