Forgive to Find Peace

One thing I have had to learn to do over the years is to forgive someone whom I will never receive an apology from. Honestly? It kinda sucks – there’s been a few people over the years who have hurt me beyond words and I would love more than anything for them to come to me and apologize for their actions and how much they hurt me. But you know what? It will never happen. I will never get that apology. And that’s okay because with or without their apology, they are still not welcome in my life.

The most powerful thing in the world you can do is accept an apology that will never come.

And the hardest thing to do? Forgive yourself.

Forgiveness is essential to moving forward in your life. If you’re holding onto resentment, anger, frustration, sadness, *insert negative emotion here* then you can’t move on! Emotions are always – *ALWAYS* – a reaction of an action; someone said or did something to you, something you did or didn’t do. And whatever emotion comes up is all about perspective.

For instance, at one of my jobs a few years ago in 2016/2017, there was a woman I worked with and I hated her. She was the most condescending person I have ever come across. I hated going to work and I would quite often go home in tears at the end of the day. I found that I would rather do something wrong than ask her how to do it correctly… though, I always managed to do things correctly. It was a poisonous work environment and I hated every day of it – however, I’m also thankful for it. Because of her, I started going to chiropractor to help deal with my migraines. I could look back and be bitter and pissed off about how she treated me… or I could be thankful for her suggestion that has helped me immensely to stop the chronic pain I had been dealing with.

The problem is, it’s hard to see in the moment. When someone is wronging you in whatever aspect, it’s hard not reacting immediately. However, no matter how you react, the only way to move on is to let go of that hurt/anger and the only way to do that is through forgiveness. If you don’t, those feelings hold power over you and whenever you’re faced with a similar situation, not only will the emotions take control of that situation, it will stir up the past emotions of the past situation.

When I was faced with my first sexual assault, I had a hard time forgiving myself. I contemplated suicide several times because of the shame associated with it and everything I went through the 8 months following it. It took a lot of time (and therapy!) to realize that my reaction of non-action is a common and normal response to the trauma I experienced. I’d always come across as a strong, confident woman who doesn’t take shit from people and even my husband asked why I didn’t fight back. Don’t worry – he retracted that comment almost immediately as he realized how insensitive that comment was. But, yeah. Why didn’t I fight back? I told myself that I was weak and a coward. It took a LONG time to realize I’m not weak – and I wasn’t the coward – the guy who did it was… but it still took a couple years to forgive myself. Not because I was weak, but because I believed I was. And once I was able to forgive myself, I was able to forgive the guy who did it. Not because HE deserves my forgiveness, but because I deserve peace.

And do you know that good DID come from that horrible experience? It actually brought my husband and I closer together.

Now, granted, that’s a pretty major thing to overcome; I’d like to say I’m completely recovered, but every now and then I have a bout of anxiety, but, thankfully, those moments are become less frequent and less intense. I can usually recognize a negative thought process and stop it before it spirals.

Forgiveness is the most empowering thing you can do in your life – let’s look at areas where I’ve struggled  and how I’ve gotten through.

For those have followed me on Social Media or know me personally, I have struggled a lot with diet and exercise – and my relationship with both. And all but the past two years have been a negative experience.

A little history; My binge eating started very early but it wasn’t a full eating disorder until I was in my twenties. I was depressed and, frankly, hated my life. I worked Monday to Friday and my husband worked retail – which meant he was working several evenings a week and on weekends leaving me alone for a lot of the time. When I did grocery shopping on the weekend, I bought all sorts of junk. As soon as I got home, my husband would leave for work. I would eat all this junk food all day – and whatever I didn’t finish, I’d hide and finish eating the next day. My weight got up to about 220 lbs. I confessed to my husband what I had been doing and made a tearful plea to help. I started going to the gym and eating healthier – but I traded one eating disorder for another and over the decades I’ve bounced back and forth between bingeing and orthorexia – with and without the obsessive gym workouts.

As I mentioned in previous posts, it was when I got back from my deployment to Kuwait that I really started looking at my life and realized I wasn’t living it to the fullest. I was torn as I wanted to keep the body I had made while deployed – with the time difference and how we restricted we were, the gym was the easiest and healthiest outlet. Plus, the mess didn’t know how to cook vegetables, so I ate a LOT of salads! As much as I wanted to keep that body, I knew in my head that I needed to heal my heart and soul and that was WAY more important than my physical body. Two months after I returned from Kuwait I discovered “intuitive eating” and became “anti-diet”. I refuse to diet – restrict foods, measure and weigh foods, and base my worth on a number on the scale.

It was hard! My clothes got tighter and eventually I had to go up a size. And then another. Surprisingly, when I stepped on the scale and saw it was at 200lbs, I was okay with it! My body and soul were healing – and I knew this because I loved how my body looked!

I have gotten to the point where I’m ready to start the activities I love without the diet mentality and obsessive behaviour. I’ve spent the past year doing yoga 4-5 times a week but I’ve been having the urge to start going back to the gym and hitting the weights. For six months I’ve been trying. For six months I’ve found excuses. For six months I beat myself up.

And as soon as I was able to forgive myself of this attitude, I was able to start going. Once I recognized this mindset, I was able to change my perspective and move in a healthier direction. Yes, I had to force myself to go the first few times, but I’m starting to enjoy it again. I’m starting to enjoy the process and look forward to my strength increasing.

The other issue I have is what and how I’m eating. I find it hard not to overeat, I still struggle with binging and eating too much sugar. Having struggled with it most my life, this behaviour is a habit and habits are hard to break! I have found the best way to deal with it is when the behaviour is identified, stop immediately. Apologize to yourself and promise to try to be more respectful to yourself in the future then do something else. Most times, I find that I’m not hungry but bored, so identifying the behaviour and stopping immediately, then finding something else to do to keep my hands and mind occupied is essential.

In the past, I wouldn’t use that process. In the past, I’d think: “well, you fucked up your diet, so might as well finish it!” and I would, I’d feel physically sick, I’d mentally beat myself up, feel even worse, then engage in some other destructive behaviour. It’s a vicious cycle that is HARD to break!

But I find forgiveness is key. Acknowledge, apologize, accept, and move on with the promise to try to be better.

You’re not perfect. I’m not perfect. We’re all trying our best with what we have – and if we can learn a little bit from each obstacle, then that’s all we can ask for!

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