Hello Health and Lifestyle VIPs,
It’s Dr. Bernadette, your friendly informative family medicine doctor, prescribing health, healing and happiness and awakening the real you. A profound statement by Iyanla Vanzant was a moment of true discovery for me, “Holding on to pain, anger, guilt or shame is the glue that binds us to the situation we want to escape.” It’s difficult to release hurts and disappointments we have spent a lifetime nurturing; especially, when they involve other people or events beyond our control. While forgiveness can be complicated, it was this very act that gave me the unparalleled freedom to live my destiny and drop over 140 pounds!
Forgiveness is a process and in some instances, it can take a great deal of time. It took me years (more likely forty years) to be able to forgive my father for not measuring up to my definition of a father––not being available to me in the way I needed him and never telling me that he loved me. The perceived absence of his unconditional love was largely the reason I stood staring at scale flashing over three hundred pounds. Mostly, because I did not want to face my emotions and it seemed easier to just subdue them with food. However, I was stuck––I said I wanted freedom, but I was making the decision to remain hostage. I thought this was somehow holding my father accountable.
Forgiveness is paramount for our well-being. It gave me the strength to stop feeding resentment and bitterness; instead, I chose to seek peace and show empathy. It calmed cravings and ravaging through the kitchen looking for food to quiet my emotions.
Forgiveness starts with understanding what it means to forgive. It doesn’t imply you are condoning what occurred––not at all. It is accepting the reality that it happened and finding your internal truce. It is deciding not be held captive in a place of anger and resentment. During one of Oprah’s meditation series, she shared that she had one of her most heartfelt experiences when someone enlightened her about what it meant to forgive––“Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different;” thereby, closing the door on what could have been to open yourself up to a plethora of potential possibilities that still exist. All that being said, how do you forgive?
The 3 Basics Steps to Forgiveness:
- Admit it. It is easier to pretend something or someone didn’t hurt you than to actually acknowledge that it did––no one wants to appear vulnerable. But, when you admit your hurt, it loosens its grip on your life. It dulls the intense pain and allows healing.
- Decide to forgive. Intentionally let go of the crippling grief resulting from harmful occurrences and purposely embrace mental and spiritual healing. Stop asking and waiting to be vindicated; instead, take back your rightful power. Unfortunate events happen in all of our lives, but you are the author of your story––there are no co-authors. So the questions you must ask is, “will I permit myself to write my ‘Happily Ever After’ chapter?”
- Release it. Have you ever participated in a balloon release event? It is a ceremony where people jot down their concerns on a piece paper, place the note inside of a balloon, inflate the balloon and release it as a physical symbol of letting go of their suffering. I am not suggesting this is the pinnacle event to set yourself free from past pain, but it did offer me solace to have a tangible way to turn my back to the past to focus on the present.
In Psychology Today, Dr. Andrea Brandt sums it up, “Forgiveness puts the final seal on what happened that hurt you. You will still remember what happened, but you will no longer be bound by it…” For me, forgiveness was the catalyst to lose weight. It can offer you the freedom to live the life you were meant to live. Whatever the outcome, forgiveness is about you and the rewards are many!
Thanks for reading, now pause, breathe and think and then, please do share this blog. Let’s meet again next Thursday.
In Health, Healing and Happiness,
Bernadette Anderson, M.D., M.P.H. has devoted the past 20 years to developing, teaching and educating others on the principles of health and lifestyle transformation. Her approach is to provide simple tools to allow people to be champions of their own healing, health and happiness and transition to a life of purpose and passion. These are the same tools that helped her drop over 140 pounds! She is the founder of Faith Family Health, Inc., a speaker, a health expert for media, bestselling and international published author, has appeared on national commercials and featured in highly-recognized online magazines.Visit her at DrBernadetteMD.com.