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Monday, 24 August 2020 11:11

Freedom and Forgiveness

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"Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future." - Paul Boese

Let’s talk about setting ourselves free through forgiveness. Let’s start with a look outward and then work our way in. I’ve often talked about the “three strikes and you’re out” moments I experienced when I had reached my goal weight but subsequently received very negative feedback from 3 very important people in my life. One of those people was my mother. She said she thought I would have gotten back into all my old habits and just put the weight back on again. I worked very hard to come to an understanding of why she would say that to me and to forgive her for the hurt I felt at her lack of support for me.

Once I was able to accept my mother for exactly who she was, I realized that she never meant to hurt me, and she was unaware that her comment caused me such pain. It was my lack of understanding of her point of view and my need for her to be something I wanted her to be, something other than her authentic self, that caused me to feel hurt. So, in effect, I was hurting myself and it was my inability to accept her that needed to be forgiven. Once I could accept her, just as she was, an enormous weight was lifted off me. My relationship with her was so much easier. We laughed together and I truly enjoyed the last years of her life. I set us both free by forgiving her for being herself and forgiving myself for trying to get her to be what I wanted.

Now let’s see if we can bring this a little closer to home. I had a hard time forgiving myself for the years and years I spent buying into all of the smack talk from other people about my weight, and therefore about my worth as a person. I couldn’t understand why I didn’t have enough sense of myself to refuse to believe all the negative feedback I got. I felt like I had wasted years feeling sorry for myself and gave up years of my life trying to fit into everyone else’s mold. Using the skills I learned when forgiving and accepting my mother, I found a way to accept myself without shame or judgment.

Can we forgive ourselves for not making the changes we know are good for ourselves? Can we forgive ourselves for falling into familiar habits instead of working hard to create new ones? Can we forgive ourselves for not being like our brothers, sisters, parents, friends or anyone else who never struggled with weight and who appears to have the world at their feet? Can we forgive the past and start to enlarge the future? Can we, over time, take an honest look at where we are and make new plans, set out on a new path?

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Betty Brink

Betty Brink is an expert on the mental and emotional aspects of dieting and body image. She is the author of "The Main Meal: The New Perspective on Weight Loss." In seminars, speeches, and consultations, she demonstrates practical methods to quiet the diet chatter, and to empower yourself to make conscious choices in diet, in life, and in relationships.

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