What exactly is forgiveness and why does it help us and more specifically, why will it help us to not only improve our lives but also to lose weight? I fully accept that these are big claims and there’s no denying that if forgiveness alone could take us to our goal, we would all be happy!! Obviously and unfortunately, this is not true but, what is true is that forgiveness helps us to release and overcome blocks in our lives that could be holding us back from:
- Taking the first step towards a change that’s needed in our lives
- Ending a toxic relationship
- Speaking up
- Defending ourselves
- Daring to try something new
Why does forgiveness hold us back?
There are many reasons why forgiveness holds us back such as:
- You can be so wrapped up in hating someone that you cannot see the opportunities in front of you
- Your constant resentment of someone or something that happened keeps you caught in the vicious cycle of revenge and rejection and fear
- A mind that is focussed on hating someone has tunnel vision and can miss out on new chances to improve their life or reach their goal.
The common denominator of all of the above is energy. Forgiveness steals energy, it drains your resources, it taints your view of life, it limits your possibilities and it affects the choices you make in life.
What is forgiveness?
You can look at forgiveness from many angles but this article will concentrate on the perspective of The Anti-Diet Lifestyle. In this context, let me first explain what forgiveness is not:
- It is not believing that what you need to forgive is OK
- It is not continuing to accept bad behaviour from someone or something in your life
- It is not accepting your fate in life and submitting yourself to an unhappy future
- Letting go of negative feelings towards a person/s or event that happened to you
- Removing yourself from a situation that no longer serves you. The key here is that you remove yourself voluntarily and WITHOUT resentment
- Removing yourself from a person that does not support you or worse, brings you down.
- When you decide to stop re-living the past
- When you allow yourself to start looking forward to the future
- When you no longer let failure, rejection, resentment and anger define who you are
- Allowing yourself to release your past leaving all feelings of guilt and inadequacy firmly behind you
Remember that forgiveness can apply to many things, events and people. The person you need to forgive could even be YOU.
‘The person you need to forgive could even be YOU’
This is sadly a very common thing. We make a mistake or we judge ourselves too harshly for an outcome we didn’t want or a mistake we have made. When we don’t forgive ourselves, we can become locked in negative feelings of low self-esteem, self-resentment and self-loathing that will no doubt hold you back from achieving your goals.
Forgiveness isn’t necessarily the ‘big’ things in life either such as a bad relationship, a boss at work that makes your life miserable or a wrong decision you made in trusting someone. Forgiveness, very often is in the little things that, if left unforgiven, can add up to bigger problems in your life. Examples include:
Anger brought on by someone jumping a queue you’re in
Resentment against someone who is promoted above you
Frustration when your team didn’t win
Anger because your partner had to work late again
If then, we practice forgiving the ‘little’ things, we will find that our overall outlook on life will improve and you won’t even be able to pinpoint why!
Here are examples of the Little things you can forgive that will gradually add up and improve the quality of your life:
Forgiving the driver that cut in front of you making you break hard
Not letting the person at work who ignored your request for help ruin your day
Letting go of resentment when someone doesn’t say ‘thank you’ when you hold the door open for them
The benefits of forgiving:
This list doesn’t come near to covering all the benefits but here are some to get you motivated to forgive more often:
- You will have reduced feelings of resentment
- You will have fewer mood swings
- Angry thoughts may reduce
- Your blood pressure is more likely to be stable
- Your mental health will benefit
- Feelings of anxiety could be reduced
- You will have better relationships
How can forgiveness help me with the Anti-Diet Lifestyle?
Even though it’s impossible to fully understand why we make the choices we do that lead us to a place we don’t wish to be, there are things we can change that will no doubt help us rather than hinder in our quest to reach our goals. Our relationship with food is a very complex one and it cannot be tackled simply by knowing we need to eat less of what is ‘unhealthy’ and more of what is ‘healthy’; Or that exercise will make us leaner, fitter and stronger. If knowledge alone were sufficient, we would all be healthy, wealthy and wise!
As the Anti-Diet Lifestyle evolved and became the foundation of my own life, I realised that weight loss was a series of little things that we do that lead us there, just as weight gain is a result of decisions we have made big or small. No one wakes up one morning and discovers they are not happy with their bodies overnight, instead, it’s a slow, gradual decline that one day makes us unhappy. The littles things are, as explained previously, much more than knowledge about what we should and should not do. They are the things that determine the actions we take on a micro level. The way we look in the mirror and hate what we see, the donuts we eat as a ‘treat’, the dress we buy that’s too small, the negative thoughts we think about ourselves.
I have found that holding on to resentment is more likely to lead you to the ‘bad’ decisions in your life whereas forgiveness is likely to lead you to your goals. So, if you’re trying to lose weight and failing, I urge you to include forgiveness into the daily routine of your life. Practice it often and wait for positive outcomes to show up in your life!!
Written by Sherry Taylor
Author of The Anti-Diet Lifestyle