The 5th Key to Mindful Weight Loss
Written by: Kathy Best, April 7, 2017
Forgive your friends, family, enemies, and yourself and them forgive some more. Nothing can hold you back and sabotage your efforts more than holding on to anger, pain, resentment, and past mistakes. The act of forgiveness can relieve stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, heal addictions and trauma, and create peace and serenity. Forgiveness is not about condoning poor behavior, destructive acts, or brutality. Forgiveness is not for the sake of the offender. It is for your own well-being and release from suffering that you forgive. When we harbor ill-will or repeatedly recall trauma and suffering we put our body and mind in a constant state of stress and fear. This can lead to compulsive behaviors that cause serious health issues. You also relinquish your personal power to the perpetrator every time you revisit or re-enact traumatic, fearful, or painful events from the past, or refuse to release the emotional energy attached to a past experience.
We are all guilty of judging someone else from a place of victim-hood, shame, fear, or ignorance. It seems to be an automatic response to most of life’s unhappy or unexplainable situations, but we make the choice to continue a life of victimization every time we reclaim our past experiences in our present moments and any time we jump to negative conclusions about a person or situation not knowing all of the details. When we continue to let our past mistakes and experiences color our present, limit our opportunities, and hold our minds and hearts hostage, we destroy our chances of healing and moving forward into a more loving, joyful life. Every person on this planet has experienced pain and suffering, loss and heartbreak. We all have within us the capacity to become a Hitler or a Mother Theresa and everything in between.
When we offer forgiveness to ourselves and to others we can develop the compassion to see past the transgression and wonder what kind of life experiences it would take for someone to be willing and able to perpetrate acts of violence, hate, and tyranny and then we can imagine what we might become capable of given different life experiences. It is easy to sit back and say, “Oh, I would never do such horrible things!” But the truth is that we really cannot say for sure what we are capable of in extreme or deplorable situations until and unless we experience them ourselves.
Forgiveness does not make acts of violence and hatred acceptable, it simply expresses compassion and mercy for you and for the lost soul doing the only thing they knew how to do at the time. Evil is not born from nothing. It is cultivated over time through, fear, subjugation, punishment, and suffering. When you pass judgement on another you are actually affirming that you are judgmental and in need of forgiveness yourself. When you withhold forgiveness from yourself or another the only one it harms is you. It acts like a cancer that eats away your strength, freedom, and ability to love or be loved.
Forgive as much and as often as you are able. Forgive small and large transgressions. If you cheat on a diet forgive yourself and you will do better next time. If your boss yells at you or belittles you, feel the upset it causes, and then forgive them. More often than not, you are actually not the root cause of the behavior, but something about you triggers a memory or a feeling from a painful past experience that produces a programmed response the other person is not even aware of. You may need to address any recurring situations when the emotional charge is lessened and you can express your concerns reasonably without being defensive or antagonistic. If your spouse starts an argument with you, forgive them. Find a moment later when things have cooled down to inquire about the offense without blame or shame. If someone physically harms you, seek help and get out of the situation if possible. Process any feelings around every experience, for they are all valid. Some transgressions take more time and energy to forgive and that is okay, but don’t continue to wallow endlessly in pain, misery, and self-pity as it only perpetuates what you seek to overcome. Remember that each and every one of us is doing the very best that we can do at any given moment with the knowledge, experience, skills, and coping mechanisms we have available.